Sep 21 - “St. Matthew” © artwork by Julie Lonneman. Happy Feast Day St. Matthew!
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When Jesus met Matthew, he worked for the occupying Romans collecting taxes from other Jews, making a tidy profit from the business. Needless to say, tax collectors, or “publicans," were despised by most Jews. It was shocking for Jesus to call one of them to become his close disciple. In the words of Matthew’s own gospel:
"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.” (Matthew 9:12b-13)
As a tax collector Matthew was certainly literate and capable of writing an early account of Jesus’ actions and sayings in Hebrew or Aramaic. According to some scripture scholars, that collection may very well have formed the core of the full 28-chapter Gospel later written in Greek.
His feast day is September 21.