St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13 + Matthew 9:9-13
September 21, 2017
“I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Among the four evangelists, only Matthew and John were members of the Twelve apostles. Mark and Luke did not, as far as we know, ever meet Jesus during His earthly life. Nonetheless, Mark and Luke were disciples of Peter and Paul, respectively, and from those two Mark and Luke received the apostolic witness to the Good News.
On this feast of St. Matthew, we also ought to keep in mind that while all four accounts of the Gospel are apostolic in origin, each presents a unique portrait of the Messiah. If a man has four very close friends during his life, then after his death each of those four would likely write a different biography of their common friend. The account of his life would reflect the biographer’s interactions with him.
Today’s Gospel passage presents Matthew’s own account of how Jesus called him to serve. Matthew is strikingly honest about his sinfulness. In light of his own need for mercy, Matthew presents Jesus through the words that the Lord speaks at the end of today’s Gospel passage: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The First Reading might seem most fitting today because of St. Paul describing various roles within the Body of Christ, such as Apostle and evangelist, both of which Matthew was. However, consider the beginning of this passage, where Paul describes the Christian’s need for humility and patience, so as to bear “with one another through love”. These words echo Matthew’s description of how Jesus called himself.