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St. Matthew, the sinner
Posted By Eric Sammons On September 21, 2009 @ 6:00 am In Saints | Comments Disabled
Today is the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle. Matthew’s Gospel has always been my favorite (and I’m one of those retrograde bumpkins who thinks it was actually written by Matthew and was the first Gospel composed), and the saint has always been one of my most beloved. When I was deciding which Gospel to use as my focus in my book, it was natural that I chose St. Matthew’s.
I especially love the story of Matthew’s conversion; he and John are the only apostles whose conversion is told by the convert himself. Matthew’s story is one of deep humility:
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, 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, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mt 9:9-13)
Matthew is declaring for all who read his Gospel that he is “sick” – he needs a physician. And this is the first, necessary, step of conversion: an acknowledgment of our sinfulness and need for someone to heal us. If Matthew was comfortable with this life, feeling self-justified, he would have never abandoned his table to follow Jesus. He could only do that because he recognized his own need for healing.
The danger for all of us is that we consider ourselves one of the “righteous,” instead of one of the sinners. And this is the case throughout our lives. We must remember that if we do think of ourselves as “righteous” and comfortable with our position before God, Christ has no interest in us.
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URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/09/21/st-matthew-the-sinner/
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