Saint Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist
Patron of Accountants & Bankers
Feast day – September 21
Among the early followers and apostles of Jesus, Matthew is mentioned in Mt 9:9 and Mt 10:3 as a former tax collector from Capernaum who was called into the circle of the Twelve by Jesus. He is also named among the number of the Twelve, but without identification of his background, in Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15 and Acts 1:13. He is called Levi, son of Alpheus, in Mk 2:14 and Lk 5:27. He may have collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas. Matthew was "called" by Jesus of Nazareth to be one of the Twelve Disciples. According to the New Testament he was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension.
Matthew was a first century Galilean (presumably born in Galilee, which was not part of Judea or the Roman Iudaea province) and the son of Alpheus. During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 BC with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. His tax office was located in Capernaum. Jews who became rich in such a fashion were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.
It was in this setting, near what is today Almagor, that Jesus called Matthew to be one of the Twelve Disciples. After his call, Matthew invited Jesus home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17)
When Matthew is mentioned in the New Testament, he is sometimes found paired with Thomas. The New Testament records that as a disciple; he followed Jesus, and was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension. Afterwards, the disciples withdrew to an upper room (Acts 1:10-14) (traditionally the Cenacle) in Jerusalem. The disciples remained in and about Jerusalem and proclaimed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
Matthew may also be mentioned in the Talmud.
Later Church fathers such as Ireneaus and Clement of Alexandria claim that Matthew, for 15 years, preached the Gospel in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judea, before going to other countries. Ancient writers are not agreed as to what these other countries are. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr.
Sources for this article were taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Matthew.
God, You chose St. Matthew the Publican to become an Apostle. By following his example and benefiting by his prayers, may we always follow and abide by Your will.
God of mercy, You chose a tax collector, St. Matthew, to share the dignity of the apostles. By his example and prayers, help us to follow Christ and remain faithful in Your service. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
St. Matthew – Pray for us