Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Celebrating the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle

The statue of St. Matthew at theArchbasilica of St. John Lateran in theVatican by Camillo Rusconi

This coming Saturday, September 21st, is the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, one of the 12 Disciples and one of the 4 Gospel writers. Before being called by Jesus to follow Him, Matthew was a publican or tax collector for the Romans and was greatly disliked by Jews. Tax collectors were known for being greedy and cheaters. Although he was Jewish himself, since he basically worked for the "enemy," Matthew wasn't invited to eat or pray with his fellow Jews. When Jesus called him, however, St. Matthew stood up right then and there to follow Him.

You can find a brief account of this in Matthew's gospel, Chapter 9:, verse 9. A few verses later, the Pharisees ask Jesus' disciples: "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" This is where it's recorded that Jesus replies, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Verse 13).

St. Matthew walked with Jesus throughout his life on earth and once Jesus ascended to Heaven, he continued to preach the Gospel to the people of Judea. He then died a martyr's death after preaching to nations further to the East, according to some traditions. St. Matthew is associated with a winged man because his Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Christ.


Catholic Cuisine has a great idea with Silver Dollar Pancakes to represent Matthew as a tax collector. Chocolate coins could also work with that theme.

Crafts + Activities

Listen to Bach: Matthäus-Passion (St. Matthew Passion) - it's also available on Spotify for free!

Say a prayer for those who have turned their back on their faith - remember that St. Matthew, although a Jew, worked for the Romans before he started following Jesus. Pray for those you know who have walked away.

Say a prayer for those who work in financial positions: bankers, advisors, and the like.

Do something for those in want of money - donate to a local food shelter, clothing shelter, or crisis pregnancy center. Have your children "earn" extra money by doing extra chores or helpful tasks. They can then put the money they earn into the offering at church.

Color a Picture - I love using coloring pages for littles to keep them still while we read. Here is one I found, and I'm sure you can find more by searching!

The Calling of St. Matthew, Caravaggio, 1599-1600

To Read

Read part of St. Matthew's Gospel - what better book can there be than the Bible? Chapter 9 is where he first makes his appearance, but any part of the Gospel is worth reading!

This piece by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Catholic Culture about the Gospel of Matthew is interesting - perhaps a learning point for older kids or adults.

Here are a couple other books on the apostles that would obviously have something about St. Matthew:

The Twelve Apostles by Marianna Mayer

Book of Saints Part 8
by Lawrence G. Lovasik

And a prayer to close...

God of mercy, you chose a tax collector, Saint Matthew, to share the dignity of the apostles. By his example and prayers help us to follow Christ and remain faithful in your service. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Happy Feast of St. Matthew!


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This post Celebrating the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 17 September 2013

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