Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist



“As Jesus passed on from there, 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.)

In commenting on these verses from today’s Gospel, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. For he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame was spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness. We may admire, incidentally, the self-effacing temperament of Matthew, for we note how he does not disguise his own former life. In his account he freely adds his own name and his own bad profession, while the other Gospel writers had generously protected him under another name.1 But why did Matthew himself indicate precisely that he was “sitting at the tax office”? To point to the power of the One who called him, underscoring that he was being actively drawn away from the midst of the very evils in which he was presently engaged and that he had not already abandoned his wicked business as a tax gatherer.” (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 30.)




Collect
O God, Who with untold mercy
were pleased to choose as an Apostle
Saint Matthew, the tax collector,
grant that,
sustained by his example and intercession,
we may merit to hold firm in following You.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen