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To most people of his day, Matthew would have been considered a “sinner.” Nonetheless, Christ, a holy man, decided to befriend him and showed us that he “came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt 9:13). 

In this eBook you will learn of how Jesus exemplified His loving mercy to people during His ministry and real life examples of how other holy men and women followed in his footsteps and did the same. 

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When does the Church celebrate the feast day of St. Matthew?

The Church celebrates the feast day of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, on September 21st. 

What is known about St. Matthew?

Matthew was the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14) and was likely a Galilean. He was a tax collector at Capharnaum and because of this was despised by the Pharisees. When he was called by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and threw Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat together with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked with these words, "I came not to call the just, but sinners." 

How did Matthew the Apostle meet Jesus?

The calling of St. Matthew is depicted in The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This is the account from Matthew 9:9-13.

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.”

“[D]o not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” – Matthew 6:25

Where can we read about St. Matthew in Scripture? 

Matthew is spoken of 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 (Luke 6:15, and Mark 3:18), and again in the eighth place (Matthew 10:3, and Acts 1:13).

Who is Levi?

The man named “Matthew” in Matthew 9:9 who was "sitting at the tax office" is the same as Levi (Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27). The accounts are identical, meaning Matthew and Levi are the same person. 

For what is Saint Matthew the Apostle most known? 

St. Matthew is most known for being a tax collector (Matthew 10:3) turned Apostle and for his role as a Gospel writer. 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

What can we learn from St. Matthew?  

In reflecting on Jesus and his relationship with St. Matthew the Apostle, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said the following:

A first fact strikes one based on these references: Jesus does not exclude anyone from his friendship. Indeed, precisely while he is at table in the home of Matthew-Levi, in response to those who expressed shock at the fact that he associated with people who had so little to recommend them, he made the important statement: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came, not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17).

The good news of the Gospel consists precisely in this: offering God's grace to the sinner! … Thus, in the figure of Matthew, the Gospels present to us a true and proper paradox: those who seem to be the farthest from holiness can even become a model of the acceptance of God's mercy and offer a glimpse of its marvelous effects in their own lives.

Something else we can learn from St. Matthew is that he instantly responds to Jesus' call: "he rose and followed him.” From Matthew, we learn to immediately and trustingly answer Christ when He calls. 

“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.” (Matthew 9:9)

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How did St. Matthew die? 

There is disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him. It is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The date of his death is likewise uncertain, though the Church settled on September 21st to celebrate his feast.

Why is Matthew the first Gospel?

Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (circa year 130) attests that St. Matthew the Apostle was the first to compile a collection of Jesus’ sayings in Aramaic. Therefore, the Gospel of Matthew is considered the first Gospel to be written and is the first in the New Testament, though some scholars argue that the Gospel of Mark was the first in a completed form. 

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Who wrote the Gospel Matthew?

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Matthew the Apostle wrote the Gospel according to Matthew. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (106) teaches the inspiration and truth of Sacred Scripture: 

God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. “To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.”

Why did Matthew write his Gospel?

After Jesus’ Ascension, the Apostles went out and preached the Gospel to all nations. They went out to different places sharing and teaching what the Lord had done and had taught them. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they preached with great wisdom and were eventually inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the Gospels. 

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How does Matthew’s Gospel differ from the others?

Matthew’s Gospel often parallels with Mark’s and Luke’s. There is speculation on whether St. Matthew or St. Mark wrote the first Gospel and if one then “borrowed” from another. St. Luke’s Gospel is like these two and therefore, all three together all called the “Synoptic Gospels” because they hold a shared view. 

John’s Gospel is substantially different from the first three. The Synoptic Gospels all similarly organize historical events chronologically, whereas John’s Gospel is more theologically profound as he gives fewer stories compared to the other Gospels, but the accounts he does write are rich with detail. 

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How does the Gospel of Matthew depict Jesus?

In his Gospel, St. Matthew focuses on proclaiming the message of the kingdom of God. He wrote his Gospel in Aramaic in hope that his account would convince his fellow Jewish brethren that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in Him in a spiritual way. 

At the beginning of Matthew 12, Matthew shows Jesus as leading Israel toward something greater than the laws and customs they were used to. The people at that time had known nothing other than their laws. Matthew shows Jesus as being the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8), showing that He is above and beyond the laws they were used to, and He was leading them towards that. 

In Matthew 21:5, Matthew depicts Jesus as the “King” who fulfills the prophecy from the Old Testament (Zechariah 9:9). 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

What is Jesus referred to as in Matthew's Gospel?

St. Matthew frequently refers to Jesus as “Messiah,” “King,” “Lord,” and “Son of Man” in his Gospel. These reflect the prophetic expectation that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, the descendant of King David, yet both Lord (God) and Son of Man (literally “son of Adam”). 

How long after Jesus died was the New Testament written?

The New Testament was written over the span of fifty years after Jesus died, only being completed in the 80s and 90s A.D. with the mature reflection of John in his Gospel, his letters and Revelation. 

Who were the four Gospel writers? 

The four Evangelists were St. Matthew the Apostle, St. Mark (companion of St. Peter), St. Luke (companion of St. Paul), and St. John the Apostle. 

Which Gospel is most accurate?

Each evangelist gives the account of Jesus’ life and teaching in his own manner, and making his own selection of events to record. The synoptics are the most similar, and follow an historical ordering, whereas, John’s Gospel selects accounts for his theological purpose. The Church’s affirmation of their divine inspiration, without diminishing the authors’ human freedom and manner of writing, guarantees that the truth is faithfully conveyed.

Which book did Jesus directly write? 

Jesus did not directly write any existing manuscripts. In fact, there is only one reference to Jesus’ writing anything. In this account from John 8:1-11, Jesus wrote something in the sand, but we do not know what it was:

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

Videos About St. Matthew

What is St. Matthew patron saint of? 

St. Matthew is known as a patron saint of accountants, bankers, civil servants, and tax collectors.

What is Saint Matthew’s symbol? 

St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem. 

What does Matthew’s name mean?

The name Matthew means “gift of God.”