21st September – Feast of the Apostle Matthew.

I had another routine chemotherapy clinic today in Letterkenny.

Today is the feast of the apostle St Matthew. The gospel passage detailing the Call and The Calling of St. Matthew
Hendrick Terbrugghen, c. 1621Matthew’s hospitality to Jesus is included at the bottom of this page.

The Concluding Prayer for today’s Divine Office highlights two points: namely our responding to divine calls coming through the Holy Spirit’s prompting and secondly extending a hospitality of the heart to Jesus.

Supported by his prayer and example,
  may we always answer your call
  and live in close union with you.

The Office of Readings from St Bede treats this hospitality of the heart that we ought to extend to Our Lord.

To see a deeper understanding of the great celebration Matthew held at his house, we must realise that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was the banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love. Our Saviour attests to this: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive him, as it were, when we freely assent to his promptings and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done. Christ, since he dwells in the hearts of his chosen ones through the grace of his love, enters so that he might eat with us and we with him. He ever refreshes us by the light of his presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven. He himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.

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As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me’. And he got up and followed him.

While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

 

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