Diamond in the Rough: The Feast of St. Matthew ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

Reading 1: EPH 4: 1=7, 11=13.

Responsorial Psalm: PS 19: 2=3, 4=5.

Holy Gospel: MT 9: 9=13.

Liturgical Colour: Red.


I’m sure if you have never owned a gemstone piece of Jewelery, that you would most definitely  have seen them in shop windows, or maybe being worn by a relative or a friend. Maybe it is a diamond, sparkling bright. Maybe a beautiful rose red Ruby, a shiny Emerald, as green as fresh grass, or maybe a Sapphire, as beautiful blue as the sky on a sunny day. They are beautiful works of nature aren’t they?

But no valuable gemstone started as the beautiful shiny gems, that we are so used to seeing. They have to be mined from deep mine rock, they are rather plain, and look nothing like the beautiful things which they would become, if they were the ones chosen as being suitable. Not all are chosen, and some are later discarded. The ones which make it, go through a full treatment process, then they need to be shaped and polished, until they shine like coloured stars in the skies. They have to undergo a major change process, to become as we know them, the best they can be.

So what has this got to do with today’s Feast of St. Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist, and what significance does it have also for us today?

Mathew was originally named ‘Levi’, which means ‘Adhesion’ in Hebrew. He was a tax collector, a publican, a position despised by the other Jews, as they saw it that Levi was working for their enemy, the Roman empire, by robbing his own people, to gain large personal financial gain for himself. The Pharisees saw him as the ‘typical sinner’. He was not permitted to trade, eat, or even to pray with the other Jews because of the role he held that was so hated and unaccepted.

Whilst Levi was sat with his silver, Jesus came and only needed to say to him two words, those being, “follow me”. Immediately in response to this,  he rose, left his silver and followed Jesus. Mathew was then renamed by Jesus as Matthew,  which means “Gift of God”. As well as being one of the Lord’s twelve apostles, Matthew was also one of the four evangelists.

Mathew invited Jesus to dinner at his home and Jesus was criticised for eating with sinners and tax collectors. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17).

Mathew was one of the witnesses of the Ascension and Resurrection of the Lord, where afterwards, they all withdrew to an upper room in Jerusalem. (Acts 1:10=14).

Just as Levi changed his life to become Matthew the Apostle, and just like valuable gem stones from the mine in their raw states, we also must undergo major change for Christ. We must enable Jesus to shape us and to polish us, so that we can be the best we can be, and good enough to be able to listen with our hearts, and follow the will of Christ, and to serve him as his chosen stewards, upon the earth. Like Matthew, we need to leave behind the things of the world and follow our Saviour.

Let us pray:

We are a work=in=progress, Lord, and alł we ask you today is that you cleanse our hearts, shape us and mold us into who you want us to become. Reveal to us your great plan and will for our lives. Use us Lord to fulfil our destiny for you and to spread your love and message of salvation across the world.

In Jesus’ name we pray.



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