Son of Alpheus,
are told that you were a publican,
a tax-gatherer at Capharnum.
know that those who collected custom duties
for Herod Antipas extorted money
from the Jews for the Roman government.
Tax-collectors regularly practiced coercion:
overcharging, intimidating, making fraudulent
exactions and making false charges of smuggling,
in the hope of extracting
hush-money from their victims.
were in the basest of occupations,
but Jesus bid you to leave your venal job
and follow him, which you did.
you were a Jew, you were despised
by the temple Pharisees, because you were
Summoned by Jesus, however, you followed Him
and honored Him with a feast in your house,
where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table
with Christ and His disciples.
When this called forth criticism
from the Pharisees, Jesus defended you, saying,
"I came not to call the just alone,
but sinners as well."
Apostle Matthew, hated publican, Jewish host
to the Christ, baptized Christian, please ask
Our Lord Jesus to invite me, a sinner,
to feast with you at the table of Christ.
Jesus saved you. Please beg Him to save me,
and please, Matthew, guard me daily against
temptation, and implore our Lord to forgive
me and keep me ever from greed and avarice.
me by your example to resist temptation.
me never make money and riches my god.
Bar me always from too much attachment
to the world and to physical goods.
Help me rather to pay my tribute to Our Lord
God and to willingly leave all earthly things
this I pray with confidence to you,
good Matthew, reformed publican,
host to outcasts, writer of Gospels
and Apostle companion
to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
2011 Donn B. Murphy
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