Thought for the Day – 21 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, Martyr
“Finally, we should practice what we learn in the Gospel. If this were not the result of our reading, our efforts would be worth very little. When reading, we should apply to our lives the spirit and the precepts of Jesus. This was the practice of the Saints, whose lives were a continual implementation of the Gospel message. So, St Aloysius and others, understood and applied to their own lives, the maxim: “Blessed are pure of heart.” St Francis and his followers, applied another maxim: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” St Francis de Sales applied to himself, in a special way, the words: “Blessed are the meek.” As a result, he was noted for his gentleness of character, this man, known as “The Gentleman Saint” and “The Gentle Christ of Geneva!”
We should read the Gospel everyday. It should be for us, a school of practical spirituality, esspecially adapted to the needs of our own soul, which will finally lead us to sanctity.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 September – “The Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Cross” – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, Martyr – Ezekiel 1:10-14, Matthew 9:9-13
“It is not the healthy who need a physician but they who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call sinners, not the just.”- Matthew 9:12-13
REFLECTION – “The Apostles, those who all as one and each in particular, possessed the Good News of God, went to the ends of the earth proclaiming the news of all the blessings God sends us and announcing Heaven’s peace towards men (Lk 2:14). Specifically, Matthew produced a written form of the gospel for the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul evangelised Rome and founded the Church there. After their deaths, Mark, who was Peter’s disciple and interpreter (1 Pt 5:13), also handed down Peter’s preaching to us in writing. Likewise, Luke, Paul’s companion, set down in a book, the Gospel preached by the latter. And then John, the disciple of the Lord, the one who leaned back on his breast (Jn 13:25), also published the Gospel during his stay at Ephesus.
In his Gospel,Matthew relates the genealogy of Christ as man: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham: now this is how the birth of Christ came about” (Mt 1:1, 18). Thus, this Gospel, presents Christ in human form, which is why it always represents Christ as being moved by sentiments of humility and remaining a man of gentleness …The Apostle Matthew knows none but One and the same God, Who promised Abraham that He would multiply his descendants like the stars in the sky (Gen 15:5) and, Who, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has called us from the worship of stones to knowledge of Him, (Mt 3:9) in such a way, that “those who were no people have become His people and she who was unloved has become beloved” (cf. Hos 2:25; Rom 9:25).” – St Irenaeus (130-202) Father of the Church, Bishop of Lyons, Theologian, Martyr (Against the heresies, III, 11,8 ; 9,1 – One of the first historical testimonies to the Evangelists).
PRAYER – We thank You, heavenly Father, for the witness of Your Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, to the Gospel of Your Son, our Saviour and we pray, that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts, obey the calling of our Lord, to follow Him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect).
Saint of the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, Martyr. Patronages – accountant, bookkeepers, bankers, customs officers, financial officers, money managers, guards, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectors, Diocese of Trier, Germany, Archdiocese of Washington, 5 cities.
St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist By Fr Leonard Goffiné O.Praem (1648-1719) (Excerpt from The Church’s Year)
Matthew, before his conversion called Levi, was a Galilean, a son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14) consequently a brother of St James the Less, another of the Apostles. (Mark 3:18). Matthew was a collector of the toll which the Jews were obliged to pay to the Roman Emperors and was called from his custom-house by our Lord to be an Apostle.
In his Gospel, which he wrote later, he calls himself from humility always by his early designation, Matthew the Publican. He followed Jesus faithfully and after the descent of the Holy Ghost remained, as the historical writers Eusebius and Epiphanus inform us, in Judea and its neighbourhood, until just before the destruction of Jerusalem, when the Apostles dispersed and went into foreign lands to preach the doctrine of Christ. When obliged to separate from the recent converts in Jerusalem, Matthew wrote his Gospel to leave with them in place of his presence among them and was the first to write concerning our Lord’s life upon earth.
He led a rigorous life, prayed much, never touched meat and lived on herbs, roots and wild fruits. He was at last stabbed by the Ethiopian King Hirtakus, as the generality of writers inform us, while standing at the Altar and offering the Sacrifice of Mass because the Saint had refused consent to the King’s marriage with the virgin Eugenia, who was dedicated to God. His sacred remains were, in the tenth Century, brought to Salerno, Naples, where they are still highly venerated.
Matthew was the first to write a Gospel. How proper it is, that he, who after many sins, becomes converted, should be the first to announce the Infinite Mercy of the Redeemer, Who came into this world, not to call the just but sinners.
“Christ, the Saviour, looked with His mild eyes at St Matthew in his custom-house and called him. Matthew obeyed, instantly arose and followed Christ, becoming thus, from a publican, an Apostle of the Lord, a great Saint. How comforting an example of Divine Mercy, even towards the greatest sinner! How wholesome a lesson! The same kind, merciful Saviour, Who gazed so mildly upon Matthew and called him, turns His loving eyes on you also, even if you live in mortal sin. He calls you to repentance – He calls you to follow Him. Obey Him as St. Matthew did, without putting it off. Let neither the greatness, nor the number of your sins detain you. Your Saviour is ready to forgive them, to receive you into His favour and to make you a Saint. “If you are a publican or a sinner,” says St Chrysostom, “you may still become an Evangelist. If you are a blasphemer, you may still become an Apostle.” This means that you may obtain pardon and gain salvation, as St Matthew and St Paul did, the former of whom was a publican, a sinner;and the other, according to his own testimony, a blasphemer. St Augustine says the same in the following words: “Perhaps some may think that the sin they have committed, is so great that it cannot obtain pardon from God. Oh! may such thoughts be far from us. Why, O man, regard only the number of thy sins and not the Omnipotence of the Heavenly Physician? As God is merciful because He is gracious and, as He can be merciful because He is Omnipotent, he who believes that God will not or cannot forforgive him, closes the door of the Divine Mercy on himself, by denying that God is gracious or Omnipotent. Hence, let no-one doubt the Mercy of God, even if he has committed a hundred, nay a thousand crimes. But this belief should incite him, to reconcile himself immediately with the Almighty.” – Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
Prayer to St Matthew as your Patron Saint
Saint Matthew, whom I have chosen as my Special Patron, pray for me, that I, too, may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in Heaven. Obtain for me your lively faith, that I may consider all persons, things and events, in the light of Almighty God. Pray, that I may be generous in making sacrifices of temporal things, to promote my eternal interests, as you, so wisely did. Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal, for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, to myself and to all the world. Win for me the virtue of purity and a great confidence in the Blessed Virgin. Protect me this day and everyday of my life. Keep me from mortal sin. Obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Amen
St Alexander of the Via Claudia Bl Diego Hompanera París St Eusebius of Phoenicia St Francisco Pastor Garrido St Gerulph St Herminio García Pampliega St Iphigenia St Isaac of Cyprus Bl Jacinto Martínez Ayuela St Jonah the Prophet Bl José María Azurmendi Mugarza Bl Josep Vila Barri St Landelino of Ettenheim Bl Manuel Torró García
St Maura of Troyes St Meletius of Cyprus Bl Nicolás de Mier Francisco St Pamphilus of Rome Bl Vicente Galbis Gironés Bl Vicente Pelufo Orts
Martyrs of Gaza – 3 Saints: Three brothers, Eusebius, Nestulus and Zeno, who were seized, dragged through the street, beaten and murdered by a pagan mob celebrating the renunciation of Christianity by Julian the Apostate. They were burned to death in 362 on a village garbage heap in Gaza, Palestine.