Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Matthew. Matthew penned the first Gospel. His Jewish name was Levi. (We find this in the Gospels of Mark and Luke.) He is believed to have been martyred in Ethiopia or Persia. St. Matthew is the patron saint of accountants, tax collectors, bankers and bookkeepers.
In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 9, we see the call of Matthew. He was a tax collector, busy at work when Jesus comes and says, “Follow me.” He did just that. As a tax collector, Matthew would have been hated by the Jews. He was considered a sellout, a traitor. Tax collectors often practiced extortion. His contemporaries probably had no love for this guy.
Many probably thought Jesus was crazy for choosing Matthew as one of the Twelve. What could He have been thinking? This guy was a rat! Makes me wonder if Matthew ever wondered if Jesus got this right. Same with me. Why would Jesus have called a schmo like me? Actually, Jesus gives the answer when He says, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” When it comes to calling me, He nailed that one.
Father, may we always answer the call to follow Jesus, despite our past, despite our unworthiness. Amen.