Feast of Saint Matthew

by FLL Editorial Team

瑪竇福音 9:9-13

Calling of Saint Matthew





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.”
Matthew 9:9-13

Matthew is one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, who is also known as Levi. Before becoming a disciple, he was a tax collector from Capernaum. He had very bad reputation just like all other tax collectors, because they're mostly Jews who helped Romans collect taxes from their own people.

Jesus however did not mind Matthew's status, and called him to be His disciple. He also ate with a lot of tax collectors and sinners. When the Pharisees questioned about this, Jesus replied, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” He likened the righteous men as healthy people, while sinners as those who are sick, to indicate which are the ones He came for: He “did not come to call the righteous but sinners”, because they're the ones who need to repent and reconcile with God.

Pharisees focused on people's past and identity, but Jesus looks at people's potential in responding to Him and their future. Matthew, like other disciples, once being called by Christ, left everything to follow Him. This is an example showing that although Matthew was still a sinner, he has a potential that Jesus sees and values.

Jesus also reminded us that God desire mercy not sacrifice, therefore as His followers we should also be merciful like Him.

According to tradition, Matthew wrote the first gospel in the New Testament, evangelized in the East and died as a martyr.