Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
September 21, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, on this feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, we are blessed with an inspiring reading from Ephesians. We are reminded that each of us is called in God according to our particular gifts. Paul encourages us to live “in a manner worthy of the call we have received” in our Baptism.
For most of us, it has been quite a while since we were washed in the waters of our Baptism. A lot of other waters have passed under the bridge since then. We may, or may not, have recognized and responded to our call, continually carried to us on those life waters.
Each moment, each choice, each act and decision asks us once again to choose Christ – over sin, over self, over meaninglessness. Each life opportunity calls us closer to Jesus, to the pattern of his Cross, to the witness of his Resurrection.
Matthew heard such a call as he sat, perhaps dulled by the unconscious disengagement of his life, by the failure to live with intention and openness to grace. As He passed by Matthew, Jesus reached into that ennui, calling Matthew to evangelize all the future generations by his Gospel.
Jesus calls us to be evangelists too – every moment, every day. Our “Yes” to our particular call writes its own Gospel, telling the Good News through our faith, hope and love.
Pope Francis says this:
The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed either by the number of persons, or by the prestige of the institution, or by the quantity of available resources. What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross.
Poetry: The Calling of Matthew by James Lasdun
Not the abrupt way, frozen
In the one glance of a painter’s frame
Christ in the doorway pointing. Matthew’s face
Bright with perplexity, the glaze
Of a lifetime at the countinghouse
Cracked in the split second’s bolt of being chosen.
But over the years, slowly,
Hinted at, an invisible curve;
Persistent bias always favoring
Backwardly the relinquished thing
Over the kept, the gold signet ring
Dropped in a beggar’s bowl, the eye not fully
Comprehending the hand, not yet;
Heirloom damask thrust in a passing
Stranger’s hand, the ceremonial saddle
(Looped coins, crushed clouds of inline pearl)
Given on an irresistible
impulse to a servant. Where it sat
A saddle-shaped emptiness
Briefly, obscurely brimming … Flagons
Cellars of wine, then as impulse steadied
into habit, habit to need,
Need to compulsion, the whole vineyard
The land itself, graves, herds, the ancestral house,
Given away, each object’s
Hollowed-out void successively
More vivid in him than the thing itself,
As if renouncing merely gave
Density to having; as if
He’s glimpsed in nothingness a derelict’s
Secret of unabated,
Inverse possession … And only then,
Almost superfluous, does the figure
Step softly to the shelter door;
Casual, foreknown, almost familiar,
Calmly received, like someone long awaited.
Music: When You Call My Name ~ Brian Doerksen & Steve Mitchinson