>Feast of St. Matthew


Painting by Caravaggio, 1602

It’s the feast of St. Matthew today!

We all know of course that St. Matthew is one of the authors, divinely inspired, of the four gospels. So, a biggie, a bona fide, called by Christ, apostle. He was one of the shocking picks of the day, a hated tax collector for the hated Romans, and yet, Christ saw his interior heart.

But, beyond even that, Matthew is a great saint to remember, oh always, as he shows us how to set aside ourselves and, in the modern ad lingo of the day, “just do it.”

Who knew, he was the first Nike athlete? Just a spiritual one! But do it, he did. When Christ called him, he didn’t dither or hedge or ask for the fine print…as you might expect from a villified tax collector. Nope, he just said, “Ok, I’m coming with you,” and he got up and went. Done.

Painting by Rembrandt, St. Matthew and the angel, 1655

St. Matthew is of course the patron of bookkeepers and accountants and tax guys, but really, maybe he should be hit up as a patron of those of us who have a hard time making decisions, or those folks who’s bumper stickers read “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” Because St. Matthew walked away from all of that, without looking back. He gives me hope because it helps me know that even those of us who get mired in the worldly cares of the day, the trap of fretting over or wishing for money/lifestyle, those who are unpopular and even scorned (rightly or wrongly)….there is hope for us all. Whew!

Etching by Jacques Callot, c 15 century

And on a personal note, I love St. Matthew for two reasons in particular. On a tiny “small world” note: he is thought to have possibly worked and lived in Ethiopia for a time (so hey, gotta love that…). And he is the patron to my dear nephew Matthew, now a big old sophomore in college out east, who doesn’t come see his aunt often enough (hint, hint Matti). But I count on him to watch over my nephew, especially as he sets forth into the world. He’s a terrific patron, and I’m glad he’s praying for my Matti.

So, happy feast day!

St. Matthew, pray for us and for our Matti-mo!

Painting by El Greco, c 1610-1614

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