Festival of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist & Ember Day (Commemorated)
Posted on September 21, 2022 byunder
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17 (NKJV)
1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
We rightfully honor the Apostles and Evangelists, but it is easy to forget that some of them came from less than noble backgrounds. Paul persecuted the Church! Matthew was a tax collector, an agent of the hated Roman government. Yet Jesus Christ Himself chose both of these men to be eyewitnesses of His resurrection, and committed to them the charge of preaching His Gospel in all the world. He called them to this work, which these men, and others, faithfully did until their deaths.
Do we feel inadequate or not up to the task set before us? Paul acknowledges that he certainly felt this way at times, and it seems likely that Matthew did too. These men had seen the risen Christ with their own eyes! They had spoken face to face with the incarnate God!
Let us remember that it is not our pasts that define us. God has called all of us to new life in Him–and that is the most important thing for us now. For truly, all of us were sinners; but by God’s grace in the precious blood of Jesus Christ, in whom alone we have pardon and forgiveness for our sins, we are made holy through faith. Just like St. Matthew, and just like St. Paul. We too hope to stand alongside them someday, forever with Jesus in His kingdom.
Prayer: O Almighty God, Who through Thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist: Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same Thy Son Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Collect for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.