A Life Summed Up

Homily for the Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist

Preached on September 21, 2020 at the Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad IN

Readings: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13; Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5; Matthew 9:9-13

“He rose and followed Him” (Mt. 9:9).

That is everything that Matthew wants us to know about himself in his gospel. Tradition has identified him as the author of this narrative. Yet it is curious how little he has to say about himself, even in this pivotal moment in his life. He could have shared more about what was going on in this scene. He could have told us what he was thinking as Jesus beckoned him from his customs post (cf. Mt. 9:9). He could have described how he felt as he was singled out in such a public setting to be something more than a publican. He could have regaled us with how he had turned his life around after this incident: how he had written this account of the Lord’s words and works, how he had preached the Gospel in far-off places, how he had put his own life on the line for the sake of the Lord. Instead, he leaves us with this short sentence—five words in English, three in Greek—to sum up his life: “He rose and followed Him” (Mt. 9:9).

If we could condense our lives in a few words, would we choose these five words from Matthew: We rose and followed Him (cf. Mt. 9:9)? If not, then, why not?

Detail of The Calling of Matthew (1502), tempera on canvas by Vittore Carpaccio (1472-1526).
Present location: Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy.

~ by Fr. Mateo Zamora, OSB on Monday, September 21, 2020.

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