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Feast Day of Saint Matthew

Wednesday was the Feast of Saint Matthew. Saint Matthew was an IRS agent  for the Romans, not a very popular position with the general public then and certainly not now. He was even less with the Jewish people known as the Pharisees. Jews who held this office were not permitted to marry a Jewish woman nor worship in the synagogue and were generally shunned by civil society.

According to Catholic Culture, St. Matthew is known to us principally as an Evangelist, with his Gospel being the first in position in the New Testament. His Gospel was written to convince the Jews that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. While not much else is known about Matthew. According to tradition, he preached in Egypt and Ethiopia and further places East. Some legends say he lived until his nineties, dying a peaceful death, others say he died a martyr’s death. In the traditional symbolization of the evangelists, based on Ezech. 1:5-10 and Rev. 4:6-7, the image of the winged man is accorded to Matthew because his Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Christ.

Today’s IRS agents’ job description includes willingness to use firearms, even considering that an unarmed IRS agent can be more lethal than 100 armed FBI agents. No wonder tax collectors are shunned by society, Matthew’s life; however. changed when Jesus tells him “Follow me.” Matthew, does not hesitate.  He leaves everything and becomes a disciple of Jesus, embracing his teachings. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, they quickly criticized Him. Whereupon Jesus answered, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:15–17). According to Luke 5:29, the aforementioned dinner was given by Levi in his house after his call.

Because of Matthew’s duties as a public official, the Church has designated him as the patron saint of civil servants and all who serve government in some capacity. He is also patron saint of  Accountants; bankers; bookkeepers; customs officers; security guards; stock brokers and  Salerno, Italy.

Symbols: Angel holding a pen or inkwell; bag of coins; loose coins; halberd; inkwell; king; lance; man holding money; man holding money box and/or glasses; money bag; money box; purse; spear; sword; winged man; young man; book; man sitting at a desk.

Sadly, modern-day civil servants, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez don’t view themselves as servants, more like bosses. Matthew, pray for all civil servants & government workers.

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