Today, September 21
Feast of the Day
No feast of the day
Saint of the Day
The apostle Matthew has two names in the gospels: Matthew and Levi. Since only the name Matthew is entered in the gospel lists of the 12 apostles, it is commonly held that his name was Levi until Jesus called him to be a disciple, then he was called Matthew which means 'gift of God' in Aramaic.
Mark and Luke record that Levi, the son of Alphaeus, was sitting in the tax office when the Lord called him. Being a Jewish tax collector for the Romans meant Matthew was considered impure and socially unacceptable by the Jewish community. Jesus himself was rebuked for eating with tax collectors and sinners.
After Pentecost, Matthew worked in a church made up mostly of Jews who believed that Jesus was the Saviour. The gospel bearing his name was composed around AD 85 and was written for Jewish-Christians. In it, Jesus is shown as the fulfillment of God's Old Testament promises of a Messiah. Tradition holds that after the Resurrection, Matthew preached in Ethiopia, where he was martyred. He is a patron saint of customs officers and accountants.
©2011 Living with Christ, Novalis - Bayard Press Canada Inc., http://www.livingwithchrist.ca/. Reprinted with permission.
Readings of the Day
Letter to the Ephesians 4:1-7.11-13.
Brothers and sisters : I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ,
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard; Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 9:9-13.
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. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office and he said to him: “Follow me.” He looked at him not with the eyes of the body but rather with the eye of interior pity. He saw a tax collector, and since he looked at him in pity and choosing him as a disciple, he said: “Follow me.” 'Follow' meant 'imitate' - not by the movement of his feet, but rather by a change of life. For whoever says he is following Christ “ought himself to walk as Christ walked” (cf 1Jn ). “Matthew rose and followed him.” It is not to be wondered at that the tax collector should leave the earthly gains he was looking after at the first command of the Lord and that, abandoning riches, he should join the company of him who, he saw, had no wealth. For the Lord, who outwardly called him with words, through a hidden instinct secretly taught him to follow him. By the gift of divine grace the Lord enlightened his mind to understand that he who on earth called him away from temporal interests, could in heaven give incorruptible treasures (cf Mt 6,20). “And as Jesus sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.” The conversion of one tax collector provided an example of penance and forgiveness to many tax collectors and sinners. In a wonderful and true sign of the future, he who was to become the apostle and teacher of the gentiles brought with him to salvation a multitude of sinners in the first moments of his conversion!