The Holy Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle. Every Catholic Man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Generosity so he can reject greed and grow in generosity and by growing in the Virtue of Piety for he can constantly seek the guidance and help of the Saints.
Feast of St. Matthew – September 21 – Mt 9:9-13
In today’s reading, Jesus calls Matthew to be a disciple and rebukes the Pharisees. Jewish tax collectors were despised by Jews as sinners because they often over-collected taxes and were considered collaborators with the occupying Romans. Despite the profound stigma Jews placed on tax collectors, as Jesus passes by Matthew the tax collector, He commands him to, “Follow me.” Hearing, Matthew gets up, leaves everything and follows Jesus. Later, Matthew holds a feast at his home to honor Jesus, and invites many other tax collectors and other sinners.
Table fellowship was a sign of personal acceptance and friendship, and Jesus’ decision to dine with a tax collector violated the Pharisees’ (meaning, separated ones) strict refusal to mix with “sinners”, especially in table fellowship. The Pharisees, perhaps afraid to challenge Jesus directly, go to the disciples and seek to denigrate Jesus by accusing Him of eating with “tax collectors and sinners.” As always, Jesus is aware of the schemes of men. He rebukes the Pharisees, recalling Hosea’s rebuke of the corrupt Israelites 750 years earlier (“I desire mercy, not sacrifice”). Particularly stinging, Jesus directs the Pharisees, proud in their understanding and rigorous adherence to Scripture, to go and learn the true meaning of Scripture. Driving home the rebuke with a powerful assertion of His authority, Jesus closes with the memorable, “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
After witnessing the Ascension of Jesus, St. Matthew went on to write the Gospel of Matthew, evangelized widely in Judea and perhaps as far as Ethiopia, and was eventually martyred. There is an ancient tradition that St. Matthew was martyred while offering Mass by the King of Ethiopia; St. Matthew had rebuked the King’s lustful pursuit of his own niece, who was a nun. St. Matthew’s relics continue to be venerated in the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Salerno, Italy.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, the Divine King and the greatest Leader of men, calls Matthew: with Divine Knowledge, Jesus recognizes, despite being a hardened tax-collector, Matthew has a deep inner spiritual hunger and will respond to His call; superior in Human Knowledge, Jesus Prudently assesses Matthew’s brilliant record-keeping skills that Matthew will use to write the Gospel of Matthew, one of the most influential documents in history; with powerful Authority and stunning Charisma, Jesus is so compelling that Matthew immediately leaves his lucrative livelihood and follows Him, ultimately to martyrdom.
Reject greed and grow in generosity
Realize: Through the calling by Jesus, St. Matthew was delivered from the vice of greed and he joyously embraced a life of poverty and generosity as an Apostle to build Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
Believe: Reflect upon The 10th Commandment (CCC 2534-2557).
Pray: St. Matthew, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Generosity (a part of Justice) so I reject the Vice of Greed and attachment to worldly things, and I generously give my time, talent, and treasure to those in need and to build Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
Seek the intercession of the Saints
Realize: In the Communion of Saints, every Catholic man is blessed to be able to strive to imitate and seek the intercession of the Saints, the greatest human beings who have ever lived.
Believe: Reflect upon the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and Patron Saints (CCC 2156, 2165).
Pray: St. Matthew, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I honor the Saints and I develop a veneration for those Saints who can help in my own particular struggles in the Spiritual Combat.