Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

A Patron for Crooks and Converts

St. Matthew, Apostle, Evangelist, and Martyr (21 Sept)

One wonders what Matthew was thinking about sitting at his tax collecting post (Mt 9:9-13). A Jew, he was alienated from other Jews by his collaboration with the Roman government in taxing his own people. He was worse than a traitor - he committed treason only for profit. Surely, his only friends would have been other outcasts: tax collectors of course, and other people who treated sacred things as chattel - perhaps prostitutes, loan sharks, and the sort.

Matthew must have been looking for a change. Life had to have more meaning than money, but what? When the man whom men were calling Messiah walked by, maybe Matthew's heart began to stir, or even to leap. When the Man called to him, "Follow me," he did. He simply got up and left everything behind: tax post, tax money, tax receipts - his whole life. The man who had traded his nation for a buck now traded his wealth for a man. Matthew must have recognized how much that Man called the Messiah cared for him, loved him. How could Matthew respond but to give his life to Him, to change from Matthew into St. Matthew? The amazing thing about St. Matthew's story is the immediacy with which he converted from a crook into a friend of the Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, you know how our hearts ache for we-know-not-what. Show us more deeply how you are the answer to everything we have every dreamed. Convert us, Lord Jesus, as you converted St. Matthew.

St. Matthew, pray for us.

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