And as Jesus passed forth from there, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him,
And he arose, and followed him.
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Chromatius of Aquileia
The Lord, about to give salvation to all sinners believing in him, willingly chose Matthew the former publican. The gift of his esteem for Matthew stands as an example for our salvation. Every sinner must be chosen by God and can receive the grace of eternal salvation if one is not without a religious mind and a devout heart. So Matthew was chosen willingly by God. And though he is immersed in worldly affairs, because of his sincere religious devotion he is judged worthy to be called forth by the Lord (“Follow me”), who by virtue of his divine nature knows the hidden recesses of the heart. From what follows, we know that Matthew was accepted by the Lord not by reason of his status but of his faith and devotion. As soon as the Lord says to him, “Follow me,” he does not linger or delay, but thereupon “he arose and followed him.”
Named Matthew. 'Tis remarked by St. Jerome, that the other evangelist, out of respect to this apostle, did not call him Matthew, (the name he generally went by) but Levi; whereas he, in his own gospel, to show the goodness of God who from a publican had made him an apostle, styles himself Matthew the publican. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
(St. Augustine, de Concor. Evan.) It is most probable, says St. Augustine, that St. Matthew does not mention what had happened to him, before he began to follow Jesus; for it is supposed that this evangelist was called antecedent to the sermon on the mount; for St. Luke named the 12 that were chosen, and calls them apostles. St. Matthew mentions his vocation to the apostleship as one of the miracles that Jesus performed, for certainly it was a great miracle for a publican to become an apostle.
Rose up, and followed him. When we hear the voice of God calling us to virtue, we must not delay. The devil, says St. Basil, does not advise us to turn entirely from ...
Out of respect and deference, the other Evangelists were unwilling to call him by the common name of Matthew but said Levi. So Matthew went by a double name in accordance with what Solomon noted: “An accuser is righteous at the beginning of his words.” And in another place: “Tell your sins, and you will be justified.” Matthew also calls himself a publican to show his readers that no one must despair of salvation if he has changed for the better, for he was suddenly changed from a publican to an apostle. .
For when He had performed the miracle, He did not remain, lest, being in sight, He should kindle their jealousy the more; but He indulges them by retiring, and soothing their passion. This then let us also do, not encountering them that are plotting against us; let us rather soothe their wound, giving way and relaxing their vehemence.
But wherefore did He not call him together with Peter and John and the rest? As in their case He had come at that time, when He knew the men would obey Him; so Matthew also He then called when He was assured he would yield himself. And therefore Paul again He took, as a fisher his prey, after the resurrection. Because He who is acquainted with the hearts, and knows the secrets of each man's mind, knew also when each of these would obey. Therefore not at the beginning did He call him, when he was yet in rather a hardened state, but after His countless miracles, and the great fame concerning Him, when He knew him to have actually become more prepared for...
Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. For he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame was spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness. We may admire, incidentally, the selfeffacing temperament of Matthew, for we note how he does not disguise his own former life. In his account he freely adds his own name and hi...
So then, let everyone who wants approach Him, and let the one say: “Son of David, have mercy on me“; and, if he hears, “What do you want Me to do for you?” let him say quickly, “Lord, let me receive my sight,” and right away he will hear, “So I desire. Receive your sight” [Luke 18:38-42]. Let another say, “Lord, my daughter“–i.e. my soul–“is severely possessed by a demon” [Matthew 15:22], and he will hear: “I will come to heal her” [Matthew 8:7]. If someone is hesitant and does not wish to approach the Master, even if He comes to him and says, “Follow Me” (Matthew 9:9), then let him follow Him as the publican once did, abandoning his counting tables and his avarice, and, I am sure, He shall make of him, too, an evangelist rather than a tax collector. If someone else is a paralytic, lying for years in sloth, carelessness, and love of pleasure, and if he should see another, be it the Master Himself or one of His disciples, come to him and ask, “Do you want to be healed?” [John 5:2-7], le...
. He did not call Matthew together with Peter and John, but when He knew that he would obey. He likewise called Paul later, when it was time. Marvel at how the evangelist displays his own former way of life, while the other evangelists disguise his name, calling him "Levi" (Mk. 2:13-17 and Lk. 5:27-32). That Matthew is converted by word alone is the work of God.