In St. Matthew we find someone who found hope and healing in Christ
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. Matthew (September 21, 2020): EPH 4:1-7,11-13; PS 19:2-3,4-5; MT 9:9-13
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Matthew is a man of means, but he is also traitor to his people and, very likely, guilty of extortion...
Today we honor St. Matthew who was chosen by Christ to be one of His Apostles. Yet from the first words we hear about him we learn that Jesus has picked someone that most of the Jewish leaders and the people in general would find totally unsuitable. Unlike Peter, Andrew, James and John, Matthew is not a poor, insignificant fisherman. Matthew is a man of means, but he is also traitor to his people and, very likely, guilty of extortion. He is a tax collector for the Romans. Yet, when Jesus saw him sitting at the customs table and told Matthew to follow Him, that exactly what he did. In a moment, like the other Apostles, he let our Lord turn his life upside down. And the first thing Matthew does is to invite Him home and throw a party. Among the guests are fellow tax collectors and others considered sinners. So when the Pharisees see this they complain that Jesus would dare to eat with such unworthy people. But Christ tells them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Matthew 9:12-13).
Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea to let His listeners know that He understands exactly the kind of person Matthew is, and the kind of people they are. Christ uses the occasion to express the mercy of God for all who repent and seek to do good. Matthew remained in the company of Jesus throughout His public ministry. While Matthew is mentioned in the other Gospels, sometimes as Levi, we do not know anything more specific about his life. Matthew has long been credited with the writing of one of the Gospels although there are questions about this. Nor do we know for sure what became of Matthew after he and the other Apostles set out to share Christ’s loving message with the world. It is generally believed that he was martyred, possibly in Ethiopia. In St. Matthew we find someone who found hope and healing in Christ and spent his life offering this divine gift to others.