Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)

 

He got up and followed him.

 

When we read today’s Gospel passage (Matthew 9:9), we might assume that after Matthew left his customs post to follow Jesus, he instantly became a saint.   Of course, Matthew was one of the Twelve and spent three years with Jesus, so he did have a special advantage.   But his transformation didn’t happen overnight;  it was a process that unfolded over time.

In a way, we are all “Matthews.”   Each of us is a recipient of the Lord’s great mercy. And having received that mercy, we’ve all made the decision to get up and follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9).   We are also like Matthew in another way:   we have the same potential to let God’s mercy change us so that we become saints.

Think about Matthew’s path to sainthood.   He must have struggled, at least initially, to leave his comfortable life to become a disciple.   Some of Jesus’ teachings must have challenged him, to say the least—especially his words about money, simplicity, and obedience to God.   We do know that, along with the other disciples, Matthew abandoned Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.   But Matthew came back to his senses, and over time (and through the power of the Holy Spirit), he let God mold him into the saint and evangelist we honor today.

Following Jesus will sometimes call you out of your comfort zone, as it did Matthew.   You will encounter difficulties and challenges to your faith that make you feel as if you are going backward instead of forward.   But that doesn’t mean you can’t become a saint!   The Holy Spirit is faithful.   If you stick with him, he will form you day after day.   So keep spending time with the Lord in prayer and listening to his voice.   Keep examining your conscience at the end of each day and asking God to forgive you for the ways you have fallen short.   Imitate Matthew, and never give up!

It’s not easy, but it is possible to become a saint.   You’ve already said yes to Jesus’ call to follow him.   Now trust that he will complete the work he has already begun in you.

“St. Matthew, pray for me as I walk the path toward sainthood.”

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Psalm 19:2-5

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