On September 21 in ordinary time, we celebrate St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.
The Gospel bearing Matthew's name was written for Jewish Christians around the year 85, and was intended to show Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promise of a Messiah. Matthew’s name, originally, was Levi, and he was a tax collector for the Romans, a fact that made him unpopular with the Jews, who regarded the Romans as oppressors. Tradition holds that, after the Resurrection, Matthew preached the Gospel in Ethiopia.
What is truly mind-blowing is that the Gospel tells us:
"As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and Jesus said to him, 'Follow me.' And Matthew got up and followed Jesus." (Mt. 9-9)
What must have been the power of that glance of Jesus! Did He read in Matthew's heart a longing for more in life than the occupation of tax collector could offer? Did Matthew, in turn, see in this Stranger, an answer to all his heart's longings? Would you have left everything you had worked for on such an impulse? Does your heart long to be invited into a relationship that gives deeper meaning to your life, that makes it a joy to get out of bed every morning?
Jesus, You are God. You look at me each day with the same love, understanding and compassion that Matthew saw in your gaze when you called to invite him to a fuller, deeper life. I let myself get so busy that I often miss that loving glance. Still my heart, my whole being, so that I, too, may find what my heart really longs for, as I look at You looking at me.
By Sister Anne Lemire