Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Proverbs 3:1-6, Psalm 119:33-40, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, and Matthew 9:9-13
Tax collectors were the lowest of the low. Lower even than people who took care of hogs. Lower than Roman soldiers. Tax collectors were traitors, people who had contracted with the hated Romans to collect taxes from their own people. The ability to charge whatever they wanted was soon abused.
Jesus called Matthew (also known as Levi) away from his lucrative racket. He followed Jesus throughout his ministry, to the cross, and was present in the upper room on Pentecost. From there, tradition holds that he preached in Judea for about fifteen years before going to Ethiopia. At some point in his ministry he wrote the Gospel, speaking as a Jew to other Jews, and presenting Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. We are not sure where or how he died, but tradition holds that he was martyred for his faith.
Take a few moments to pray about St. Matthew. How can his life be an example to yours? You may find the following prayer helpful:
We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.