This is a busy time of year for many in the United States. Businesses are preoccupied with sending out W-2s to their employees. Citizens are gathering all of their documentation for the year and sending them to their accountants or tax preparers. The brave ones are doing their taxes themselves. Accountants are putting in long hours navigating the complicated tax code and filling out tax forms.
In short, the business equates to a stressful time for a lot of people.
The intercession of the saints can be of great benefit for all—particularly the busy and stressed. However, Saint Matthew stands head and shoulders above all possibilities and is the perfect saint for tax season intercession. Matthew was after all a tax collector.
In the ninth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we hear about the call of Matthew (also called Levi in other Gospels), the tax collector. This means he would have been hated by his fellow Jews for being a collaborator with the occupying Roman forces—tax collectors were also known for padding their own pockets, too—yet he was called by Jesus to be an Apostle.
Thus, the gospels tell of Jesus dining and associating with tax collectors and sinners. In answer to the criticisms of the Pharisees, Jesus responded, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Because of his previous occupation of tax collector, Matthew is the patron saint of accountants, bankers, tax collectors, and other various financial professions. What else do we know about him? Not much more is known about Matthew. He is referred to as “Levi” in Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels. It is possible therefore that Jesus changed his name to Matthew since the name Matthew means “gift of God.”
It is also possible that he was one of those biblical figures with two names. He recorded in the Gospels as being the son of Alpheus. Following the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, Matthew, like the other Apostles, preached the Gospel. Where he preached is not entirely clear. Saint Iranaeus said he started by preaching to the Hebrews. St. Clement of Alexandria claimed he did so for a period of 15 years. Eusebius claimed that, before he left to go to other countries, he left the Hebrews his Gospel account. Where he went after that is up for debate. A lot of sources mention that he preached in Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea. Some sources say he went to Persia, the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and/or Syria. The Roman Martyrology states that he was martyred while preaching in Ethiopia. The method of his martyrdom is not known.
This tax season, let the patron and Evangelist be your intercessor, to relieve you of fear, stress, and worry, and to bring you wisdom and peace.
Prayer for Saint Matthew’s Intercession:
O God, who with untold mercy were pleased to choose as an Apostle Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that, sustained by his example and intercession, we may merit to hold firm in following you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (taken from the Roman Missal)
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