Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

21 September -- Festival -- Apostle -- Red

Matthew appears in the list of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to the gospel written under his name, was a tax collector. Mark and Luke called the tax collector Levi, and it has been assumed that they are one and the same. This occupation was despised by his fellow Jews as a betrayal to the occupying Roman force but Christ showed that judging by outward appearance was not what he was about. He ate with Matthew and with his friends, scandalising those around him. Matthew affirmed that his life would now change because of following Jesus, and that he would make amends for any former wrongdoing. This was enough for Jesus, for he had drawn someone back to God. He was forgiven, therefore he was acceptable, therefore he was received.


O Almighty God,
whose blessèd Son called Matthew the tax-collector
to be an apostle and evangelist:
give us grace to forsake the selfish pursuit of gain
   and the possessive love of riches
that we may follow in the way of your Son Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Proverbs.

Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 3. 13-18

Responsorial Psalm

RHappy are those who find holy wisdom,
[she is the tree of life].
O Lord, you have dealt graciously with your servant,
according to your word.
Teach me discernment and knowledge,
for I have believed in your commandments. R

Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
You are good and you bring forth good;
instruct me in your statutes. R

The proud have smeared me with lies,
but I will keep your commandments with my whole heart.
Their heart is gross and fat,
but my delight is in your law. R

It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is dearer to me
than thousands in gold and silver. R         From Psalm 119

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

Since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry of the Spirit, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God's word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Corinthians 4. 1-6

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. As he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 9. 9-13

Post Communion

Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles' teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.