Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, who was likely born in Galilee and that he was also known by the name Levi. He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of Christ. St. Matthew was a tax collector and is, therefore, the patron saint of bankers. The Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew’s on the 21st of September.
According to the Gospel, St. Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, “Follow me.” With this simple call, St. Matthew became a disciple of Christ. After his call, Matthew invited Jesus home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 and 50 AD, St. 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 is believed that 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.
From St. 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 of St. 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.