Saint Matthew with Book and Sword Large wood Sculpture; Saint Matthew Apostle and Evangelist
First century after Christ
Matthew is a tax collector in Capernaum of Galilee. Jesus sees him, calls him. He suddenly gets up, leaves everything and follows him. From that moment on, taxes, finances and the Romans cease to exist. Everything is cancelled by that word of Jesus: "Follow me".
The evangelists Luke and Mark also call him Levi, which could be his second name. But they give him the name of Matthew in the list of the Twelve chosen by Jesus as his envoys: "Apostles". And with this name he also appears in the Acts of the Apostles.
We know very little about his life. But we have his Gospel, long considered the first of the four canonical texts, in order of time. Now studies put Mark's Gospel in that place: unlike the other three, Matthew's text is not written in Greek, but in the "Hebrew" or "paternal" language, according to ancient writers. And almost certainly it is Aramaic, then spoken in Palestine. Matthew wanted first of all to speak to Christians of Jewish origin. And to them it is fundamental to present the teachings of Jesus as confirmation and fulfillment of the Mosaic Law.
In fact, we see - indeed, at times we seem to hear him - that he continually links facts, gestures and sayings about Jesus with references to the Old Testament, in order to make it clear where he comes from and what he has come to accomplish. Starting from here, the evangelist Matthew then outlines the events of the grandiose future of the community of Jesus, of the Church, of the Kingdom that will fulfill the prophecies, when the peoples "will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven in great power and glory."
Written in a language for a few, Matthew's text became everyone's book after its translation into Greek. The Church makes it an instrument of preaching in every place, and uses it in the liturgy. But of him, Matthew, we know very little. He is mentioned by name with the other Apostles in Acts (1:13) immediately after Jesus' Ascension to heaven. Again from Acts, Matthew is present with the other Apostles at the election of Matthias, who takes the place of Judas Iscariot. And he is standing with the other eleven, when Peter, on the day of Pentecost, speaks to the crowd, announcing that Jesus is "Lord and Christ". Then, he certainly preached in Palestine, among his own people, but the subsequent events are unknown to us. The Church honors him as a martyr.
Patronage: Bankers, Accountants, Taxes
Etymology: Matthew = man of God, from Hebrew
Emblem: Angel, Sword, Purse, Book of Accounts
Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, who, called Levi by Jesus to follow him, left the office of publican or tax collector and, elected among the Apostles, wrote a Gospel, in which it is proclaimed that Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, brought to fulfillment the promise of the Old Testament.