Saint Matthew

Posted by James Hahn on

Thursday September 21st - Feast of Saint Matthew, apostle & evangelist

Matthew 9:9-13

I apologize for my lack of posting over the weekend. We were extremely busy and I didn't have a chance to sit down and really meditate on the readings. Yes, I am a sinner contrary to popular belief. What did we do over the weekend? Glad you asked. Friday we took the boys to the county fair. It was a perfect day for it, cool and sunny. We looked at all the animals and rode all the "little" rides. We ate french fries drenched in vinegar and took home cotton candy. The boys really enjoyed the fair. It was a bit more difficult this year with four. My wife held the baby in the sling and I had a backpack on with William (almost 2) and the others walked on their own. Of course my WCSS was in high gear with so many people but I lightened up after a while.

On Saturday Morning my dad came over and helped me butcher more chickens. We have five roosters left and twelve hens. Yes, if you were paying attention to the other posts, we are having a difficult time discerning which are roosters and which are hens. Any help, real help, would be appreciated. The "removal" of a large number of roosters from the coop has made things much more peaceful. We are even starting to get eggs now. Although I think the slaughter from last weekend has scared the roosters into laying. I'll keep an eye on them. That night we ate one of the birds I had butchered the previous weekend and it was awesome.

Sunday I had to work all day so it was a wash. On Monday we celebrated Christopher's 4th birthday with family at our house. Pizza and chocolate cake were requested and enjoyed by all, I think. I ususally try to read the Gospel a day or two before I write anything about it. I read what I thought was today's Gospel but it didn't seem to fit. In the back of my mind I kept wondering why there wasn't a reading that mentioned Matthew's name like most of the apostle's feast days do. There was a mistake in my liturgical calendar that told me to read Mark 9:9-13 instead of Matthew 9:9-13. Oh well, reading too much scripture never hurt anyone, well there was that one Martin Luther guy... So that's my excuse this time but I'll try to be more faithful. Speaking of faithful...

Many scholars today try to dismiss Saint Matthew's seemingly instant conversion. They reason, not based on scripture, that Saint Matthew probably knew Jesus for a while beforehand and this was just his way of telling his readers when he left everything to follow Jesus. It sounds good but I'll stick with what I read. Matthew got up and followed him. I know of many people who had instant conversions of this sort (Fr. John Corapi, Fr. Donald Calloway). This doesn't mean that they were instantly saints but that they made the choice for Christ and did not look back. This doesn't mean everything from then on was easy but that they now had the strength of Christ and through Him they could do all things. Matthew heard the call of God and responded. His heart was open and Christ was able to walk in.

Something else to note is that Matthew didn't care what anyone thought of his conversion or his association with Jesus. In reality there were probably just as many skeptical "sinners and tax collectors" as there were Pharisees. Matthew's friends probably wondered why he would invite Jesus to a party in the same way that the Pharisees wondered how Jesus could dine with "these" people. Matthew isn't concerned about anyone's opinion. He is only concerned with his relationship with Christ. If that relationship results in his friends conversion all the better but he will not shy away from his master out of human respect.

TAKE TWO - A better, more faithful translation is "I desire mercy more than sacrifice" as opposed to "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."

Lord Jesus, You never cease to call me to follow You. Help me this day to leave all that keeps me from You. Help me to leave my cares for vanity and my concern with worldly opinion behind, take up my cross and follow You. Lord, come to my house and dine. Come into my life for I am sick with sin and in need of Your Divine Medicine.

"What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And - wonder of wonders - Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seeds of Christianity!" - Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way 799

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