- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for September 21, 2021 – St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

(Ephesians 4: 1 – 7, 11 – 13 ; Ps. 19; Matthew 9: 9 – 11)

It appeared that the man was about to pass by when he stopped and directly addressed the tax collector: “Follow Me!” And with that, the man, surely startled, got up immediately and followed at once. In an instant, Matthew’s life changed – never to be the same.

One can wonder – did Matthew ever see Jesus before, or hear Him speak, or witness a healing? The Gospel according to Matthew himself is silent so we are left with the bare facts – Jesus invited and Matthew left his post – no longer an employee of the Romans – he began to be a disciple, soon to be named as an apostle, then inspired by the Holy Spirit to be an evangelist and finally, according to Church tradition, ending his days as a missionary to Persia and possibly Ethiopia.

The lack of detail can be a message in itself, an invitation for us to go deeper into this movement of grace and surrender so to look into our own act of surrender in faith. It can be a kind of finding the treasure hidden in the field, the field within us. What is there about the Lord’s merciful and gracious invitation that moves a person, anyone, in particular, us to follow Him in belief, in trust, in love, in obedience – into a life-relationship that is captivating yet mysterious?

There is an answer, of course, that is, if we are willing to take time in prayer to listen. It is a very personal answer, unique to each of His followers, so personal to us, and, if you will, a treasure. What moved me/you to follow the Lord? What keeps us in His company? Surely, Matthew reflected on his own experience, the very personal invitation from the Lord Himself, and surely, some parts were very clear and some hidden in the wisdom of God – as they are with us.

To reflect on our call, to embrace it more, to live it in thankfulness, to journey in faithfulness – this treasure we do hold in earthen vessels – a treasure not to be hidden but lived and lived with fervor.