St. Matthew, Apostle, Monday – 21st September 2021 — Gospel: Mt 9,9-13
Joyful Sharing with Friends
Matthew, the apostle and an evangelist, leaves the tax tables and follows Jesus. His old name was Levi, the son of Alphaeus (Mk 2,14). “Mathew” means “the gift of God.” Apparently, the name was given to commemorate his conversion and his call to be a disciple. In response to his personal call, Matthew opened his heart to Jesus and became a new person. This was not an easy decision for him to make. He was a native of Capernaum, and Capernaum had rejected Jesus (Mt 11,23). He was a well-known businessman in the city, and his old friends probably persecuted him as traitor and thief. Certainly, Matthew lost a good deal of income when he left all to follow Christ. Nevertheless, Matthew not only opened his heart, but he also opened his home. He knew that most of his old friends would drop him when he began to follow Jesus, so Matthew took advantage of the situation and invited them to meet Jesus. Matthew may have come to despise the lifestyle he had been living, but he did not despise those with whom he had shared such a lifestyle. They had been his friends, and now he wanted to introduce them to Jesus, the rabbi who had so quickly and dramatically changed his own life. In offering great feast to his friends, tax collectors and sinners, Matthew prepared them indirectly and interiorly to hear the call of Jesus and respond like him.