Today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew. His Jewish name was Levi. (We find that in the Gospels of Mark and Luke.) Matthew was a tax collector. Therefore, observant Jews would have nothing to do with him. He was considered a traitor. He is one of the four Gospel writers.
In the first reading from Ephesians 4, St. Paul talks about the different gifts that have been given to believers. “And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers…” Matthew was one of the Twelve, an Apostle. But you and I are also called to be apostles. (Note the small “a”.) Apostle means “one who is sent.” We are called to recognize and perform our role in the apostolic ministry of the Church.
The Gospel reading today is the story of the call of Matthew, from Matthew’s Gospel. As with the other Apostles whose calling we read about, Matthew was at work, sitting at the customs post. Jesus simply passes by and says to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew immediately leaves his post and follows Jesus. After being questioned about why He hangs with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus says to the Pharisees, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Funny, isn’t it…the more righteous we think we are, the less we can hear the call of Jesus.
Father, give us the grace to hear the call of Jesus to follow Him. And give us the strength to drop everything and follow. Amen.