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.