Saint Matthew the Apostle
Also known as
• Levi • Apostle of Ethiopia
• 16 November(Eastern calendar) • 6 May(translation of his relics)
Son of Alphaeus, he lived at Capenaum on Lake Genesareth. He was a Roman tax collector, a position equated with collaboration with the enemy by those from whom he collected taxes. Jesus' contemporaries were surprised to see the Christ with a traitor, but Jesus explained that he had come "not to call the just, but sinners."
Matthew's Gospel is given pride of place in the canon of the New Testament, and was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. He preached among the Jews for 15 years; his audiences may have included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia, and places in the East.
• accountants; bookkeepers • bankers • customs officers • financial officers; money managers • guards; security forces; security guards • stock brokers • tax collectors • diocese of Trier, Germany • archdiocese of Washington, DC • 5 cities
• angel holding a pen or inkwell • bag of coins • halberd • inkwell • king • lance • man holding money • money bag or box, purse • spear • sword • winged man • young man
"Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me." Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men." He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: "Follow me." This following meant imitating the pattern of his life - not just walking after him. Saint John tells us: "Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." "And he rose and followed him." There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew's assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift. - from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable