Monday, September 21, 2009

Feast of St Matthew

"The feast of the holy apostle Matthew brings to mind his memorable call and his glorious work. It was a great hour indeed in Matthew's life when Jesus approached the tax-gatherer's desk, gazed into his eyes and said: 'Follow Me.' We need not hold that these words came to him wholly unprepared. Matthew had already known Jesus. Perhaps he had been at the Jordan with John the Baptist and was baptized. Then he became a zealous listener to Jesus' preaching in Galilee. And now the Master says to him: 'Follow Me." And he followed.

It was not a resolution easily made to give up a goodly position, to leave a pleasant family, and to plunge into an unknown future. Yet Matthew followed. It was a hard but happy exchange he was making. For he received in return the friendship of Jesus, the glory of apostleship, the honor of an evangelist. For a tax-gatherer's table he would receive a judgment seat over Israel, for its load of wares, immortal souls; in place of money, heavenly treasures became his portion!

Follow Me! The words bring to mind my vocation. I too was called. Also to me Jesus said: Follow Me. At baptism He first invited me, and often He has repeated that invitation. Many an event in life is a call from God. (...) Is there, however, a common calling, one given to all, whether priests, laymen, married, or nuns? St Ignatius says: 'Yes - to praise God, to serve Him and to save one's soul.' A familiar phrase. We are called to belong to the family of God. As the apostle Paul proclaims on apostle feasts: 'You are now no longer guests and strangers, you are citizens of God's people, members of His family.'

We are called to be children of God, already a high end; yet not the highest. The highest is that we are called to be numbered among Christ's members, incorporated most intimately into Him. We are cells in Christ's Mystical Body, His divine life should diffuse itself in us. Such is the highest purpose of our calling. In itself it makes little difference what particular role in Christ's Body I play or what portion of the Body's work falls to me. The important thing is that Christ's strength is operative in me, that Christ spreads Himself through me. This calling is a grace, a gift, but also a duty. It is bound up inextricably with my cooperation. Linked to the great central power station, I must allow that power to operate. I must identify myself with Christ in every action. Such is the tremendous task assigned me."

-- The Church's Year of Grace by Dr Pius Parsch

Today we celebrate the feast of St Matthew, apostle. Please pray for all religious, priests, deacons, nuns, and missionaries around the world who have left their homes, families, friends, and countries to "Follow Him."

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