Today, September 21
Feast of the Day
No feast of the day
Saint of the Day
The apostle Matthew has two names in the gospels: Matthew and Levi. Since only the name Matthew is entered in the gospel lists of the 12 apostles, it is commonly held that his name was Levi until Jesus called him to be a disciple, then he was called Matthew which means 'gift of God' in Aramaic.
Mark and Luke record that Levi, the son of Alphaeus, was sitting in the tax office when the Lord called him. Being a Jewish tax collector for the Romans meant Matthew was considered impure and socially unacceptable by the Jewish community. Jesus himself was rebuked for eating with tax collectors and sinners.
After Pentecost, Matthew worked in a church made up mostly of Jews who believed that Jesus was the Saviour. The gospel bearing his name was composed around AD 85 and was written for Jewish-Christians. In it, Jesus is shown as the fulfillment of God's Old Testament promises of a Messiah. Tradition holds that after the Resurrection, Matthew preached in Ethiopia, where he was martyred. He is a patron saint of customs officers and accountants.
©2011 Living with Christ, Novalis - Bayard Press Canada Inc., http://www.livingwithchrist.ca/. Reprinted with permission.