The holy apostle and evangelist Matthew who, named Levi, was called by Jesus to follow him and leave his job of publican or tax collector. Matthew, son of Alphaeus, was called by the Lord in Capernaum and said: “Follow Me.” After that, Matthew prepared a reception for the Lord in his home and thus provided the occasion for the Lord to express several great truths about His coming to earth. After receiving the Holy Spirit, Matthew preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, and Ethiopians. In Ethiopia he appointed his follower Plato as bishop, and withdrew to prayerful solitude on a mountain. Matthew baptized the wife and son of the prince of Ethiopia, at which the prince became greatly enraged and dispatched a guard to bring Matthew to him for trial. The soldiers returned to the prince saying that they had heard Matthew’s voice, but could not see him with their eyes. The prince then sent a second guard. When this guard approached the apostle, he shone with a heavenly light so powerful that the soldiers could not look at him; filled with fear, they threw down their weapons and returned. Then the prince went himself. Matthew radiated such light that the prince was instantly blinded. However, the holy apostle had a compassionate heart. He prayed to God, and the prince was given back his sight. Unfortunately, he saw only with physical eyes and not spiritual eyes. Then the apostle prayed to God and gave up his spirit.
You rose from the tax collector’s booth and you followed Christ in all earnestness. He made you a blessing for all, a chosen apostle and evangelist for the world. Therefore, we honor your sacred memory and we ask you to beg God to forgive our sins.
You cast off the yoke of gathering taxes, and you put on the yoke of justice. You became a shrewd merchant, obtaining a wealth of wisdom from heaven itself. When you preached the word of truth, you lifted up depressed spirits. You wrote of the coming hour of judgment.
1 Corinthians 4: 9-16
Brothers and sisters: As I see it, God has put us apostles at the end of the line, like men doomed to die in the arena. We have become like a spectacle to the universe, to angels and men alike. We are fools on Christ’s account. Ah, but in Christ you are wise! We are the weak ones, you the strong! They honor you, while they sneer at us! Up to this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, poorly clad, roughly treated, wandering about homeless. We work hard at manual labor. When we are insulted we respond with a blessing. Persecution comes our way; we bear it patiently. We are slandered, and we try conciliation. We have become the world’s refuse, the scum of all; that is the present state of affairs.
I am writing you this way not to shame you but to admonish you as my beloved children. Granted you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you have only one father. It was I who begot you in Christ Jesus through my preachings of the gospel. I beg you, be imitators of me.
Matthew 9: 9-13
At that time as he moved on, Jesus saw a man named Matthew at his post where taxes were collected. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened that, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s home, many tax collectors and those known as sinners came to join Jesus and his disciples at dinner. The Pharisees saw this and complained to his disciples, “What reason can the Teacher have for eating with tax collectors and those who disregard the law?” Overhearing the remark, Jesus said: “People who are in good health do not need a doctor; sick people do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.’ I have come to call, not the self-righteous, but sinners.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Wednesday, November 15 –