One of the twelve apostles and an evangelist, Matthew was a tax collector for the Roman state when he was called by Our Lord. He is regarded as the author of the first of the four Gospels, which he wrote in the second half of the first century. Many scholars believe he borrowed from the evangelist Mark’s gospel account when writing his gospel.
Although we don’t know if Matthew followed the common practice as a Roman tax collector of cheating the poor to increase state revenues and their own income, it would have been difficult for him to avoid it: and then, he met Jesus.
We do well, then, to remember that Our Lord sat with him and other publicans and sinners at his home, rebuking those who said that these men were not worthy to be in his presence.
The accompanying picture of Matthew and the angel is by Guido Reni (1575 – 1642), an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.
Jesus said, “I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). (From the day’s Gospel, page E 114, The People’s Anglican Missal).