‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that you hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’ ‘But when the young man heard that saying he went always sorrowful: for he had great possessions.’
‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’
A very smart selection of texts in the Book of Common Prayer on the feast of Saitn Matthew. The focus is not the classic scene of the calling of Matthew from the tax collectors’ desk. Instead, we can have an insight into the apostle’s spirituality. The above young man could not follow Jesus. Matthew was capable for this big jump into the unknown.
But was this really an unknown? This is the genius of Levi-Matthew. His whole being instinctively felt that Jesus is the answer. Jesus was the answer to the lost ways of an Empire which ruled ruthlessly over its provinces. For him, Jesus was the answer to the stalemate of Jewish religion which lost its ways and genuine Messianic focus.
I imagine Matthew ‘standing up’ in us from the tables of the closed horizons of our age. I would like to see Matthew in the young black guys, members of the local hooded ‘gangs’ here in Grahame Park. In us, voters, commuters, shop keepers, teachers, unemployed and pensioners - all sitting at the tables of our age which offer nothing for the soul.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..