Who was St Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle? Watch this video to find out more about how the life of one tax-collector and sinner was transformed by the mercy of Jesus. This is the same grace that can change your life and mine.
Below is an image of the famous 'Calling of Matthew' by the Italian artist Caravaggio. It hangs in the Church of San Luigi Francese in Rome. In it we see Jesus calling Matthew to follow him by the customs desk.
This is the scene that inspired Pope Francis' episcopal motto 'Miserando atque eligendo', which means "because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him."
The phrase comes from a homily by St. Bede -- an English eighth-century Christian writer and doctor of the church. St. Bede's homily looks at Mt 9:9-13 in which Jesus saw the tax collector, Matthew, sitting at a customs post and said to him, "Follow me." St. Bede explained in his homily, "Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men. He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: 'Follow me.' This following meant imitating the pattern of his life -- not just walking after him. St. John tells us: 'Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.' Bede continued: "This conversion of one tax collector gave many men, those from his own profession and other sinners, an example of repentance and pardon. Notice also the happy and true anticipation of his future status as apostle and teacher of the nations. No sooner was he converted than Matthew drew after him a whole crowd of sinners along the same road to salvation."