25th Sunday in
Ordinary Time – C
My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial or Feast
and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, observed on September 21. As one of the four Gospel writers, his artistic symbols are the quill
he may have once used to keep records of the taxes he collected for Rome, and/or a scroll
or book. He is also depicted with either a winged man
[see below] or angel
for one reason.
Only Saint Matthew records how God revealed His will to Saint Joseph in his dreams via an angel. His angelic dreamtime visitor told Joseph: the manner of Christ’s conception by the Holy Spirit; the name he was to give his foster son; the virginity of his pregnant, future wife; the Holy Family’s need to be exiles in Egypt and the ability to return to Israel after King Herod’s death. Here are the orations for Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.
Collect – Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
O God, who with untold mercy
were pleased to choose as an Apostle
Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that,
sustained by his example and intercession,
we may merit to hold firm in following you.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
CHRIST CAME TO CALL SINNERS.
We often hear these words in the Penitential Act, but do we realize how shocking they are: that Christ calls sinners – even a tax collector – to minister in His Church and be Saints? To put Christ’s call of Saint Matthew to be an Apostle in perspective, imagine hearing that a new Bishop had once been a corrupt politician, money launderer for a drug cartel, unscrupulous bounty hunter or used car salesman! In Saint Matthew’s day, those who conspired with Rome, ‘the enemy’ by collecting taxes for Caesar from their fellow Jews whose nation was under Roman rule, were considered traitors, heretics and the worst of sinners … akin to prostitutes … whom Jesus also called to follow Him! So fear not, fellow sinners … there’s room and a warm welcome from Jesus for all of us …who repent as did Saint Matthew!
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Matthew
As we celebrate anew the memory of
Saint Matthew, we bring you
sacrifices and prayers, O Lord,
humbly imploring you to look kindly
on your Church, whose faith you have nourished by the preaching of the Apostles.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
HUMAN REASON + DIVINE REVELATION.
Saint Matthew’s symbol as a winged man shows we can only come to know and understand God’s will IF we infuse our human ability
to think and reason with divine revelation. Saint Matthew directly quotes or refers to more Old Testament passages than any other evangelist. He did this to show how God prepared us to recognize and accept the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ, and understand and live by His teachings. The Catholic Church follows this principle to keep all her dogmas and rituals, teachings and practices, firmly based on God’s holy word. Some ways to honor Saint Matthew is to commit ourselves to learn more about God’s word by joining a Bible Study, taking part in Adult Faith Formation, logging onto Catholic websites, reading our Bible and Catechism, etc.
Prayer after Communion – Saint Matthew
Sharing in that saving joy, O Lord, with which Saint Matthew welcomed the Savior
as a guest in his home, we pray:
grant that we may always be renewed
by the food we receive from Christ, who came
to call not the just, but sinners to salvation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
DO YOU LET JESUS IN YOUR HOME?
The turning point of Saint Matthew’s life was when he welcomed Jesus into his home, served our Lord dinner, confessed his sins, and heeded Christ’s advice. So while it is of the upmost importance that we come to Mass each week to receive Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, we must then bring Christ home with us, to work and play with us, to visit with us in all we say and do. Then perhaps, through us, more sinners like us will repent and be saved. Saint Matthew the Apostle, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS