St. Matthew Apostle, feast day September 21.
It came to pass one day at Capernaum, that Christ went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom; and He said unto him: Follow Me. And he left all, rose up, and followed Him. And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house. This Levi is the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. After that Christ was risen again from the dead, and while he was yet in Judea, before he set forth for that land which had fallen to the lot of his preaching, he wrote the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Hebrew tongue, for the sake of them of the circumcision who had believed. His was the first written of the four Gospels. Thereafter he went to Ethiopia, and there preached the Gospel, confirming his preaching with many miracles.
Of his miracles, the most notable was that he raised the King’s daughter from the dead, and thereby brought to believe in Christ the King her father, his wife, and all that region. After that the King was dead, Hirtacus, who came after him, was fain to take his daughter Iphigenia to wife, but by the exhortation of Matthew she had made vow of her maidenhood to God, and stood firm to that holy resolution, for which cause Hirtacus commanded to slay the Apostle at the Altar while he was performing the mystery. He crowned the dignity of the Apostleship with the glory of martyrdom upon the 21 st day of September. His body had been brought to Salerno, where it was afterwards buried in a Church dedicated in his name during the Popedom of Gregory VII., and there it is held in great worship and sought to by great gatherings of people.
Homily by St Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. i. Comment, on Matth. ix.
The other Evangelists, out of tenderness towards the reputation and honour of Matthew, have abstained from speaking of him as a publican by his ordinary name, and have called him Levi. Both names were his. But Matthew himself, according to what Solomon saith: The just man is the first to accuse himself, (Prov. xviii. 17), and again, in another place: Declare thou thy sins that thou mayest be justified, doth plainly call himself Matthew the publican, to show unto his readers that none need be hopeless of salvation if he will but strive to do better, since he himself had been all of a sudden changed from a publican into an Apostle. 1910 Breviary
Porphyry and the Emperor Julian (the Apostate) will have it that the account of this call of Matthew is either a stupid blunder on the part of a lying writer, or else that it showeth what fools they were who followed the Saviour, to go senselessly after any one who called them. But there can be no doubt that before the Apostles believed they had considered the great signs and works of power which had gone before. Moreover, the glory and majesty of the hidden God, which shone somewhat through the Face of the Man Christ Jesus, were enough to draw them which gazed thereon, even at first sight. For if there be in a stone a magnetic power which can make rings and straws and rods come and cleave thereunto, how much more must not the Lord of all creatures have been able to draw unto Himself them whom He called?