Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee.
He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of Christ.
According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to
him and asked, "Follow me." With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.
From Matthew we know of the many doings of Christ and the message Christ spread of salvation for all
people who come to God through Him. The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in
the other three Gospels, so scholars are certain of its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels in
the New Testament.
Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 and 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He
wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow people that Jesus was the
Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way. It was an important message at a time
when almost everyone was expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword.
It is thought he departed for other lands to escape persecution sometime after 42 AD. According to various
legends he fled to Parthia and Persia, or Ethiopia. Nothing is recorded of Matthew's passing. We do not
know how he died, if his death was natural or if he was martyred.
Saint Matthew is often depicted with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7, which reads, "The
first living creature was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third living creature had a human face, and the
fourth living creature was like a flying eagle."
O Glorious St. Matthew, in your Gospel you portray Jesus as the longed-for Messiah who fulfilled the Prophets of the Old Covenant and as the new Lawgiver who founded a Church of the New Covenant. Obtain for us the grace to see Jesus living in his Church and to follow his teachings in our lives on earth so that we may live forever with him in heaven.