FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW
“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”-Josh 1:9
Psalm 66, verse 16
Come and hear, all you who fear God, while I recount what has been done for me.
It is just that we recount how God has removed our faults and how he imputes no guilt on us when we sincerely repent and turn away from our sins and ask for forgiveness. Once He has freed us, it is then that we can gratefully receive the counsels of the Holy Spirit which show us our path.
The Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ prayed every morning tells us that God is to be loved.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.
Christ is the living example of God’s love for us. His heart could not rest until He repaid our debt. His soul was so tormented for love of us that He sweated blood in the garden for us. His mind was ever on us when He multiplied the loaves or healed the sick and with all His strength He offered his life as an eternal sacrifice before the Father. He for love of us took the cup and drank it to the dregs during His passion.
To help us understand this love of His for us is the mission of the Confraternity of the Passion International who document the full suffering of our Lord to show us how we are loved knowing that Christ and His mother weep over lost souls and delight over converted ones.
Feast of Saint Matthew
MATTHEW, also called Levi, a son of Alpheus, and brother of the holy apostle James the Less, was a receiver in the Roman custom-house on Lake Tiberius. Such officers were hated by the Jews for their injustice, and were called publicans, or public sinners. While he was sitting at the receipt of custom he was called by Christ to be one of His disciples, and immediately leaving his lucrative office and all that he had, followed Him. On account of his distinguished zeal he was afterwards received into the number of the apostles. After the descent of the Holy Ghost he remained in Judea, preached the Gospel, wrote the passion of Our Lord as contained in his gospel, and lived strictly in the fear of God. At a later day he travelled through Persia, Ethiopia, and other countries. At last he was killed at the altar, by command of King Hirtacus, for opposing his marriage with the Princess Iphigenia, who, by St. Matthew’s direction, had vowed to God perpetual virginity. His holy remains were brought to Salerno, Italy in the tenth century. Thus may great sinners become great saints by following faith fully, like St. Matthew, the voice of God.
St Matthew Facts
· Matthew was a tax collector, also called a publican. This profession was among the most reviled in Judea. Tax collectors worked for Rome, and not only did Jews pay Roman taxes to them, the collectors received a percentage for their own profit. Jews in good standing did not associate with publicans.
· Once Matthew begins to follow Jesus, he holds a dinner for other tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10). The Pharisees, the strict Jewish law abiders that were leaders in the community, complained about Jesus, a teacher eating with sinners. Jesus said, "For I have come to call the not the righteous but the sinners." (Matthew 9:13)
· Early church writers claim that after Jesus' death and resurrection that Matthew preached Christianity in Persia, Macedonia, and Syria.
· In the Orthodox Church, tradition says that St. Matthew refused to die even after several attempts. He was first placed upside down and lit on fire, then sunk in a coffin in the sea overnight. The ruler of Ethiopia, who tried to kill Matthew, apologized to the apostle and converted to Christianity.
· St Matthew was one of Jesus' 12 disciples and writer of the Gospel of Matthew. His feast day is held on September 21 in the Roman Catholic Church and November 16 in the Orthodox faith.
Things to Do
- Do something for the needy: money for missions, donations of clothing or toys, canned goods drive, etc.
- Take time to read St. Matthew's Gospel, keeping in mind that St. Matthew depicts the humanity of Christ and emphasizes His physical sufferings. He makes frequent reference to the fulfillment of prophecies because he wrote to Jews and to Jewish Christians.
- Discuss St. Matthew's call from Christ "Follow me" with your children and how we are all called to belong to the family of God.
- Pray for people who work for financial institutions.
- Make Silver Dollar Pancakes, you can use this recipe on Catholic Cuisine's website or one of the suggestions we offer under recipes.