St. Matthew the Apostle (1st c.) was a Jew who also went by the name of Levi. He was from Galilee and served in Capernaum as a tax collector for Herod Antipas before becoming a disciple of Jesus. It was in the home of St. Matthew that Jesus dined with the “sinners and tax collectors.” Under Jesus’ influence St. Matthew was led to true repentance for the evil he had done as a tax-collector, a position despised by his fellow Jews. Matthew’s repentance was complete and sincere. He repaid those he cheated four-fold, sold all his possessions, and followed Christ faithfully as one of the twelve Apostles. St. Matthew preached among the Jews for fifteen years following the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. He is one of the four evangelists, the author of the Gospel that bears his name, which he wrote to convince the Jews that Jesus Christ was the Messiah promised to Israel. According to tradition, St. Matthew the Apostle brought the Gospel to Syria, Media, Persia, Parthia, and finished his preaching in Ethiopia with a martyr’s death. He is the patron of guards, bankers, accountants, security forces, and stock brokers. His feast day is September 21st.
Perhaps the feast of St Matthew, a sinner who became a great saint, is as good a time as any to remember the importance of having real sorrow for our sins that have so offended God. Repentance should lead us to desire the necessity of making a good Confession and a firm purpose to amend our lives. Only by living in the grace of God can our hearts be filled with true peace and joy.
See this example of a repentant sinner’s conversion (from Father Z’s blog):