Painting: My illustration of Saint Matthew includes some of the classic images usually associated with Matthew and his role in the Church as an Apostle. First, the three coins on the left side illustrate Matthew’s old life, his livelihood. He was a tax collector and because of this profession, he was marginalized by the community. He was not trustworthy in the eyes of the people. The coins become an image of how Jesus uses our weakness or sin or past offenses to show that conversion and change is possible. The three coins also show us the value of his new call, the three images of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Second, the wing on the right side refers to the classic symbol of the winged man or angel from Revelation that guided the hand of Matthew. In all the early paintings or images of Matthew, this winged creature is present. Third, notice the gospel book itself. I illustrated it as looking more like tablets, which are associated with Moses and his role in the ten commandments. Matthew’s gospel is viewed by scholars to show how Jesus is the new Moses which is best demonstrated in Matthew’s Beatitudes. These Beatitudes are the new teaching of the law. Jesus becomes the teacher, the new way of living and viewing our relationship with God, the new invitation of Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness.
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciple, ” Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
How is Jesus calling you from an old way of life?
What do you need to let go of or change to put your call into practice?
What does following Jesus mean for you?
How is the Holy Spirit writing a gospel of hope and love within your heart, your actions?