September 21

 

St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

He was born in Capernaum, and was working as a tax-collector when Jesus called him. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, and is said to have preached in the East.

Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Mt 28: 19-20

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, says the Lord.

Collect

O God, who with untold mercy were pleased to choose as an Apostle Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that, sustained by his example and intercession, we may merit to hold firm in following you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

First reading: Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all. Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. To some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.

Psalm: 18:2-5

R/ Their word goes forth through all the earth.

  1. The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands. Day unto day takes up the story and night unto night makes known the message.
  2. No speech, no word, no voice is heard yet their span extends through all the earth, their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

Gospel Acclamation: cf.Te Deum

Alleluia, alleluia! We praise you, O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord. The glorious company of the apostles praise you, O Lord. Alleluia!

Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking on he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him. While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

Prayer over the Offerings

As we celebrate anew the memory of Saint Matthew, we bring you sacrifices and prayers, O Lord, humbly imploring you to look kindly on your Church, whose faith you have nourished by the preaching of the Apostles. Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon: Mt 9: 13

I did not come to call the just, but sinners, says the Lord.

Prayer after Communion

Sharing in that saving joy, O Lord, with which Saint Matthew welcomed the Saviour as a guest in his home, we pray: grant that we may always be renewed by the food we receive from Christ, who came to call not the just, but sinners to salvation. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Reflection

Tax collectors were regarded as impure; taken to be thieves, people to be avoided by all means, but still truthful to his public office, Jesus saw Matthew sitting in that disgraceful office. He calls him from there to make out of him a disciple. For Pharisees, that calling and dining with disgraceful colleagues of Matthew was a disgraceful act, but to Jesus, no man or woman, no matter his or her condition, is strange to the evangelical call. The initiative comes entirely from Jesus, and through his word of command, our duty, like Matthew’s, is to get up and follow. We should not fear to follow because of what people or peers know of us, about what might be known as disgraceful, because the call to follow Jesus opens new horizons and a new graceful life.