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Doctrines & Morals

The Feast of St Matthew, the Apostle

Eph. 4:1-7.11-13, Mt. 9:9-13. Today we celebrate the Feast of St Matthew whose name is derived from the Hebrew "Mattija", shortened to "Mattai" in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek, it is spelt "Maththaios" and sometimes "Matthaios". He is mentioned five times in the New Testament; first in Matthew (9:9), when called by Jesus to follow Him and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Lk. 6:15, Mk 3:18) or the eighth place (Mt. 10:3, Acts 1:13). The name Matthew means gift of God or given by God. His name reminds the goal of every follower of Jesus, to be a gift of God in ourselves and for others. On the other hand, Mathew is a reminder to the communities of disciples that instead of excluding those who are weak, bothersome, nuisance and unfit to our standards, consider them as gifts of God for the community, because their presence makes God present among us and provides an opportunity to witness to the Gospel and Christian charity.

To prove the words of Jesus in today's Gospel: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” He picked an unlikely man called Mathew, despised by His people as His disciple. It is a shocking gesture for any law-abiding Jew. The Pharisees considered a tax collector a sinner and was treated as an unclean person by the whole community of Jews. Jesus risked His own reputation as a Jewish teacher in reaching out to Mathew whom they considered a betrayer. Jesus assumed the role of a true physician who cares for life in its fullness. His approach to sinners transformed Matthew who left his lucrative job to follow Jesus. Following Jesus involves difficult choices and decisions. Mathew had the courage to go beyond the things he loved in life in order to be a disciple. In showing God’s concern for sinful and despised ones, Jesus also challenges outward practice of religion devoid of sensibilities to those in need and those crying for mercy.

May the Lord draw us closer to Christ so that our hearts may be cleanse from sin and follow Christ faithfully! Amen!! Remain safe and have a productive day!!!

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