As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples. 'Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?' But when he heard this, 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, not sacrifice." For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
Matthew is one of the first men chosen by Jesus in Galilee to be his disciple after he calls the four fishermen, Simon and Andrew, and James and John. His original name appears to have been 'Levi, the son of Alphaeus', so probably Jesus gave him the name of Matthew meaning "gift of Yahweh" (ie gift of God). Matthew invites Jesus to a meal with other tax-collectors, who are loathed by the ordinary people because they work for the Romans, and now Jesus is spending time with them. His argument to those who criticise him is that has come "to call not the righteous but sinners."
We know little about Matthew, though his name seems to be linked with Thomas, another disciple. Equally we don't know how he died. The Bishop of Hierapolis, Papias, who lived around 60-130 AD claimed that Matthew "wrote down the sayings (of Jesus) in the Hebrew language". This possibly means Aramaic rather than Hebrew. He seems to have used St Mark's text as well as his own material, and he concentrates on the teaching of Jesus, referring to Hebrew laws. His Gospel is generally assumed to have been been finished by 75-80 AD.
St Matthew's feast day is today, the 21st September, and his emblem is a divine man, because he starts his Gospel with Jesus' human ancestors and the story of his birth.
we thank You that St Matthew
immediately answered Your call,
to follow You.
May we be as quick to hear
and respond to Your call,
each and every day.
You might like to look at this site to find a little more about St Matthew:
and this about the emblems of the four Evangelists:, who wrote the Gospels: