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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saint Matthew - September 21

Saint Matthew
Apostle and Evangelist
Feast - September 21
Patron of Bankers and Accountants

The name Matthew in Hebrew means “gift of God.”

God of mercy,
you chose a tax collector, Saint Matthew,
to share the dignity of the apostles.
By his example and prayers
help us to follow Christ
and remain faithful in your service. (Opening Prayer)

Among all the populace that the Jews despised the most were the “publicans” the men who collected tax for the Romans. Most of these publicans or tax collectors were dishonest taking more tax than was right. A few were honest, dealing fairly, and taking no more tax than was required. But because so many were corrupt, all tax collectors were hated alike; and considered sinners by the people.

Matthew, also called Levi, the author of the first Gospel, the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14), was a tax collector by profession. Tradition tells us that he was one of the honest ones, nonetheless because of his occupation, observant Jews were forbidden to have anything to do with him. Yet Jesus, an observant Jew, in an act of mercy, chose Matthew to be one of the first apostles. Just as remarkable was Matthew’s response to Jesus’ call.

“He (Jesus) went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” (Luke 5:27-32)

Thankfully our God is a God of mercy. He sent His Son to dine with the sinners, a  category into which we all fall. Today, on the Feast of Saint Matthew let us be reminded to share the gift of God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace with others in our life. To show other sinners, just like ourselves, “that God’s way brings a happiness that no earthly pleasure can give.”

Apostleship of Prayer
Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.
An Example of Repentance

For human beings this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible
.” (Matthew 19:26)

For items related to Saint Matthew
 please visit Lynn’s Timeless Treasures Catholic Goods.

Saint Matthew and the Angel by Rembrandt Van Rijn
The Calling of Saint Matthew by Hendrick Terbrugghen
The Call of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio 

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