Matthew was a tax collector in the city of Capernaum, where Jesus was living. He was a Jew, but he was working for the Romans, who had conquered the Jews. For this reason, his countrymen disliked him. They would not have anything to do with these "public sinners," as tax collectors like Matthew were called.
But Jesus did not feel that way. One day, Jesus saw Matthew sitting in his booth and said, "Follow me." At once, Matthew left his money and his position to follow Jesus, becoming one of the twelve apostles. Matthew gave a big supper for Jesus. He invited other friends like himself to meet Jesus and listen to him teach. Some people found fault with Jesus for sharing a meal with those whom they considered sinners. However, Jesus had a ready answer: "Those who are well do not need a doctor; sick people do. I have not come to call the just, but sinners to repentance."
After Jesus ascended into heaven, St. Matthew stayed in Palestine. He remained there for some time, preaching about the Lord.
We are familiar with the Gospel according to Matthew, which is the story of Jesus and what he taught. This Gospel was inspired by and named after St. Matthew, but we are not sure if he was actually involved in writing it. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is presented to his own Jewish people as the Messiah who the prophets had said would come to save us.
After preaching the Gospel to many people, St. Matthew ended his life as a martyr for the faith.
Do we sometimes label people as "bad" or as "sinners"? Then we should pray to St. Matthew. We can ask him to help us avoid labels. We don't want to imitate the wrong things people might do, but we shouldn't look down on them either. We should just say "no" to sin and treat the person who committed the sin with compassion and understanding.
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