Sunday, September 21, 2008

St. Matthew

Today is the feast day of St. Matthew the Apostle. Appropriately for the times we find ourselves in, St. Matthew is the only patron saint of accountants, stockbrokers, tax collectors, money managers and financial officers and is one of the patron saints of bankers. Here's a suitable request:
Dear publican become a Saint, after once gathering taxes and tolls how wonderful was your conversion by grace when discarding your earthly possessions you followed the Poor Man of Nazareth. The Mammon of Money is still worshiped. Inspire bankers with kindness and with the desire to help where they can; for what is done to the least, to the poor, is done to Jesus, the Son of Man. Amen.

St. Matthew is traditionally held to be the author of the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, which can be read online in numerous English translations.

The story of the calling of Matthew by Christ is in the book of Matthew, chapter 9, verses 9-13:
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (NIV)

The Golden Legend includes the story of St. Matthew, including an episode with dragons. There is a biographical sketch at this Anglican site.

The picture at the top of the post is Rembrandt's Matthew and the Angel, sometimes called The Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel. There are three works depicting St. Matthew by Caravaggio in the San Luigi dei Francesi church in Rome: The Calling of St. Matthew, The Inspiration of St. Matthew, and The Martyrdom of St. Matthew.

Bach's St. Matthew Passion sets part of Matthew's gospel to music:
part 1

more here

The Gospel According to St. Matthew is an award-winning 1964 Italian film directed by Pasolini. It is #4 on the Arts and Faith list of Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films. Here is a 3-minute clip:

There is another, more recent and less artistic, film based on Matthew's Gospel:
part 1 of 29 [gone as of 2/17/2010]

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