This past Monday the church celebrated the feast day of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. In a homily on the call of Matthew, one of the great theologians of the Church, Saint Bede the Venerable, reflected on the importance that the conversion of this one tax collector had on the world. Tax collectors were among the most despised people in Judah because they were seen as traitors for cooperating with the occupying Roman government.
Matthew’s call and conversion reminds us that God sees things very differently than we do. He seeks out the lowly and the outcast to do His great works. God doesn’t see us only as we are, He sees us as we could be. We must also remember that without the call of Matthew, we would not have Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, which means: no record of the annunciation to Joseph, no record of the visit of the Magi, no record of the flight into Egypt, no record of Herod’s massacre of the Holy Innocents, no record of how the angel guided Joseph when it was time for the Holy Family to return home. We wouldn’t have Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes or the Sermon on the Mount. The call and conversion of just one tax collector had a huge impact on the history of the world.
In the movie “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the elf queen Galadriel told the hobbit Frodo Baggins, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” In these dark and trying times, how is God calling you to be a light to your neighbor and change the world?
Father Brent Crowe