Jesus chose a tax collector to collect souls for eternal life
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. Matthew (September 21, 2018): 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.
The Apostles of Jesus were ordinary people. Yet He found in each of them someone worthy of extraordinary dedication to God, in other words, to Himself.
Matthew was no average fisherman, artisan or laborer though. He was a tax collector and that made him both well off and reviled. “As Jesus passed by, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he got up and followed Him” (Matthew 9:9). As far as most Jews were concerned, that meant he was a traitor because tax collectors worked for the Romans. They gathered whatever money these foreign occupiers demanded and then pocketed even more on top of that to keep for themselves.
But Christ had only to look at Matthew and speak a couple of words for Matthew to give up his lucrative livelihood and dishonest ways to become one of the Apostles. Like the other disciples, Matthew recognized Jesus as someone unique – someone who could fill the deepest desires of his spirit. And, like the others, he went out to preach the message of salvation after the Ascension of our Lord. Matthew is thought to have gone to Persia or Ethiopia where he may have been martyred. More than that, St. Matthew also wrote one of the Gospels and, so, has continued to influence the Church for two thousand years by recounting Christ’s life for all to embrace.