Every Catholic has a vocation. Whether to the married, religious, or single life, each one of us has been called to work out our salvation in a unique way. Yet the call is a universal one and it has not ceased for centuries.
St. Matthew was called directly by Our Lord from the tax collector’s bench. Here was a man who was derided by all of Israel for the work he did on behalf of the Romans. Yet he was even more despised by others because he probably took a little off the top for himself. He might have extorted money from others in order to line his own pockets. Yet this man was called by Christ Himself not only to preach Christ’s Gosepl all over the world, but to also to write one of the Four Gospels and to die as a martyr by being beheaded.
In many ways, St. Matthew epitomizes what it means to be a disciple and to live out one’s vocation. Like St. Peter and the others, Matthew dropped everything and followed Christ. He witnessed St. Peter’s confession, Christ walking on the waters, and the Passion. He also heard those climactic words that were to characterize so much of his life after Pentecost, “Go, therefore, and teach all nations…” Indeed, St. Matthew taught all of the nations and left us the first of the Four Gospels.
Yet who was St. Matthew? What kind of person was he? Like a lot of other saints, we know very little about him. Yet the gospel he wrote gives us some clues. He was clearly an educated Jew and his knowledge of the various prophecies helped him to connect Christ to the Jewish community of his time. Like all other accountants and other writers, St. Matthew is careful to give the sources of the prophecies so that his readers would be able to find them for themselves.
Yet St. Matthew’s message for us today should be about how we should follow Christ. If and when God calls us to a state in life, we should not resist Him. We should not tell God to come back and call us in two months or two years. Rather, we should drop everything to follow Him. Even if the road ahead is not clear to us or if we are afraid to make the first step, we should not be afraid. God will take care of us and He will show us His mercy and love.
In many way, St. Matthew asks us today and every year, “What are you waiting for? Why are you still here? Drop everything and go.” On this feast day, let us meditate on St. Matthew’s call and see if we have answered our own to the best of our ability. If we have not, let us strive to fulfill it to the best of our ability.
Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!
St. Matthew, pray for us!