Matthew is my favorite apostle by far. Why? Because he is the only one of the twelve whose life and heart was completely transformed in one instant by an encounter with Jesus. Yes, the other apostles were sinners in need of redemption, but Matthew wasn’t just a sinner. He was a betrayer of his own people by cooperating with the Romans. Matthew was one of the most despised people in all of Israel.
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
If Matthew’s life could be totally redeemed by an encounter with Jesus, so could many others we know. Do we share Jesus with them? Isn’t it our obligation to try? What would Saint Matthew say? One encounter, one word might open the heart of someone in darkness.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.