Welcome to St. Matthew's Roman Catholic
Feastday: September 21st
St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first
Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed
by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be
an Apostle while sitting in the tax collectors place at Capernaum. Before
his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession.
He is to be identified with the "Levi" of Mark and Luke.
His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of
Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is
a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions
mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural
death or received the crown of martyrdom.
St. Matthew's Gospel was written to fill a sorely-felt want for his
fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it
served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial
to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter,
it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person
of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the Messianic Kingdom
embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual rather than in
a carnal way: "My Kingdom is not of this world." His Gospel,
then, answered the question put by the disciples of St. John the Baptist,
"Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel
in his native Aramaic, the "Hebrew tongue" mentioned in the
Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time
of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure
for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel
either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem,
i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later. Definitely, however, the
Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing,
and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord's prophecy,
shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the
Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.