The Feast of St. Matthew is a reminder that God chooses whoever He wants. Matthew is one of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ and one of the synoptic gospel writers.
The name “Matthew” comes from the Hebrew word “Mattaniah” (1 Chron 9:15), meaning “gift of God,” Mark calls Him “Levi”.
Today, the call of Mathew is a very big lesson to all who have the interest to be a follower of Jesus. His call is highly exemplary to all who truly want to work for God and transform their lives.
The summary of Matthew’s call is that God chooses whoever He wants. So if we are to truly follow Jesus, we have to change from our former lives and focus on how to be His disciple. Let us take the lessons bit by bit.
As Jesus is walking
After healing the paralytic at the beginning of this chapter through which He demonstrates His power to forgive sins, Jesus walks from there.
As Jesus walks, He sees Matthew sitting at the tax office. Immediately, Jesus tells him to follow him. Matthew got up and followed him.
For Jesus to choose a tax collector, who the people regarded as a sinner is an indication that God chooses whoever He wants.
In the same way, the feast of St. Matthew reminds us that Jesus is continually calling us to repent and to be with him. He is everywhere. He uses our friends, experiences, homilies, sermons, etc, in the church, through our priests, ministers, in our places of work, in our homes, through our parents, family members, to remind us of the need to come to Him.
The question then is, how do we respond to His call? How do we respond whenever we hear about the things of God?
Do we detest them and face our pleasures or do we pay attention and respond positively? Do we think of ourselves as not worthy? The call of Matthew is a pointer that God truly chooses whoever He wants and you may be among.
He does not call us because we are the best, He calls us because we can be the best. He wants to make us instruments of His gospel. Are you ready?
Matthew Gets up and Follows Him
One may ask, has Matthew encountered Jesus before? How come someone just told him to follow him and he responded immediately without questioning?
Many commentators envisage that Matthew may have heard about Jesus. That is why He makes the decision to follow him while some allude that Matthew always see how people gather around Him which was one of the features of a known prophet at that time and he considers that following Jesus is the best for Him.
Notwithstanding any argument here, the point is that immediately Jesus called him, he responded positively.
In the same way, God is calling us into the ministry of saving souls and working for him. God knows we are His children. Therefore, He knows what we can do. Then, He can choose us.
God continually gives us opportunities to repent and come back to Him. Matthew responds immediately to God’s call.
Do we respond immediately or do we postpone the day of our return indefinitely?
When are we truly going to answer God with our whole hearts? Matthew responds immediately He hears the voice of Jesus. When we hear His voice, when we hear the word, do we say yes, postpone it or say no.
The call of Matthew shows that God demands our yes often. But we continue to say No to Him and postpone our response for a long time.
Secondly, at the call of Matthew, Matthew just answered. He did not ask Jesus the nature of this apostolate.
Matthew does not know what he is going to face. But he willingly accepts to be part of God’s service. This shows he has faith in Jesus. He did not even ask Jesus who is He.
Matthew knows that if Jesus is truly the Messiah, then he has nothing to fear. He knows that becoming a true disciple is the best thing that would happen to him.
Unlike Mathew, how many times do we doubt the truth of the gospel? How many times do we doubt what Jesus can do in our lives?
There are times, we decide to remain deep in our fears because of the uncertainty of the future? Sometimes because we think our prayers are not answered the way we want, we relegate God to the background and think that God does not exist.
Who and why are we afraid to preach Jesus to the world? Like Mathew, let us always put our faith in Jesus. The future is always in His hands. With, Jesus, we have nothing to fear.
Abandons His Office
Thirdly, when Jesus called Matthew, he was in His tax office, but he abandoned everything and followed Him.
Matthew did not think of what he has lost, he did not think about the money he is going to lose, knowing quite well that tax collectors at that time make huge amounts of money.
He considered following Jesus as the first. The bible says seek you first the kingdom of God and other things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33).
But sometimes we consider our material possessions more than being a true disciple of Jesus. Even when we try, we think that becoming a child of God is only for material blessings and when we do not feel we have it, we lose hope in God.
To be a true disciple is to be ardent, even when things are not working the way we want.
Matthew sacrificed His tax office. He sacrificed His position, earthly gain and money for the gospel.
What can we also sacrifice?
Tax collectors are known as sinners in the time of Jesus, because of the way they extorted the people, but now Matthew considered everything as past and gone.
He sees Jesus as the best thing that would ever happen to him. What past sin can we also be able to relinquish for the sake of the Gospel?
In Jesus, everything is considered new and the past is gone. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Transforms His Work for the Gospel.
Matthew’s work as a tax collector suggested that He is fluent in Aramaic and Greek and of course very accurate in keeping records.
He was a man of the pen which was then used to extort the people. But when He was called, He transformed his pen into note-taking of all the events that happened at the time of Jesus.
This made Him one of the well-known evangelists today. The Feast of St. Matthew teaches us to use what God has given us not in perpetrating evil but in touching and saving souls.
Matthew is teaching us to use our gifts, our positions, knowledge, talents, services, etc to promote the gospel and the salvation of souls.
Jesus is calling us again, we have to get up immediately and follow Him and be His instrument like Matthew was.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to respond positively to His call. May He forgive us in any way we may have derailed in the past and hence make us His true disciple. Amen