Friday, September 21, 2012

St. Matthew the Apostle

The Calling of St. Matthew, Caravaggio

My husband loves this picture. There's a copy hanging in the hallway of a church that we often visit and he always used to stop in front of the picture and look at it intently for a while. So, I ordered him a copy and even though it turned out to be not so great, I have seen him sit and stare at it for long periods of time. He always talks about Matthew being called by Christ and not even noticing because his is so absorbed in his money. I love the man on Matthew's right, pointing to the tax collector as though he wonders if Jesus could really be calling that one.

But, of course, Matthew did respond to the call and today is his feast day. St. Bede the Venerable says in the Office of Readings:

[Jesus] saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: Follow me. This following meant imitating the pattern of his life—not just walking after him. Saint John tells us: Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
And [Matthew} rose and followed him.There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift.
Money has never been a great temptation for me, but there are plenty of other things that consume my time and my thoughts. May we all hear that call and be flooded with that grace.


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