According to tradition, Matthew, the son of Alphaeus, was called by Jesus to be one of His twelve Apostles while serving as a tax collector in Capernaum. Other than that, personal information about Matthew is in rather short supply – rooted more in tradition than is biographical fact.
It is believed that Matthew’s early public ministry was directed to his fellow Jews in the communities of Palestine, as he preached of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah. Less is known of his latter years, with varying traditions maintaining that he may have carried his ministry to such diverse lands as Ethiopia, Macedonia, Parthia and Persia. It is unknown if Matthew died a natural death or suffered martyrdom for his faith.
While Mark’s Gospel was the first one chronologically to be composed, the Gospel ascribed to Matthew is listed first in the New Testament. It was originally written in Aramaic, the common tongue of most Jews, but its date of composition is rather unclear. Biblical scholars doubt that it was written before 42 AD (the date of the persecutions authorized by King Herod Agrippa I) or after 70 AD (the date of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem), with 55 AD often suggested as the most likely date of its composition.
The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Matthew on September 21st, and he is recognized within the Church as the patron saint of bankers and accountants.
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.