Ordinary Time: September 21st
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist; Ember Wednesday
Other Titles: Levi
Entrance Antiphon, Cf. Mt 28:19-20:
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, says the Lord.
Gospel Verse, CF. Te Deum:
We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
Gospel Excerpt, Mt 9:9-13:
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
Preface of the Apostles:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.For you, eternal Shepherd, do not desert your flock,
but through the blessed Apostles
watch over it and protect it always
so that it may be governed
by those you have appointed shepherd
to lead it in the name of your Son.And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim.
Today is the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. At the time that Jesus summoned him to follow Him, Matthew was a publican, that is, a tax-collector for the Romans. His profession was hateful to the Jews because it reminded them of their subjection; the publican, also, was regarded by the pharisees as the typical sinner. St. Matthew is known to us principally as an Evangelist. In the early Church, Matthew’s Gospel was thought the first to be written, which explains its position in the New Testament.
The beginning of the Autumn or September Embertide, begins today with Ember Wednesday. These Ember Days fall after the third Sunday of September near the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14) and are days of thanksgiving for the completed harvest of fruits and grapes, being historically commemorated as a "wine-press feast." But these Ember Days are also days of penance and atonement since the traditional liturgy connected them with the Jewish celebration of the New Year and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. The Stational churches were part of the Ember Days, with Ember Wednesdays always being with Mary, Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major).See September or Fall Ember Days and Contemporary Observation of Ember Days.
St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
No one was more shunned by the Jews than a publican, who was a Jew working for the Roman enemy by robbing his own people and making a large personal profit. Publicans were not allowed to trade, eat, or even pray with others Jews.
- Do something for the needy: money for missions, donations of clothing or toys, canned goods drive, etc.
- Take time to read St. Matthew's Gospel, keeping in mind that St. Matthew depicts the humanity of Christ and emphasizes His physical sufferings. He makes frequent reference to the fulfillment of prophecies because he wrote to Jews and to Jewish Christians.
- Discuss St. Matthew's call from Christ "Follow me" with your children and how we are all called to belong to the family of God.
- Visit this AnaStPaul and Catholic Harbor and CatholicSaints.info for more information about St. Matthew.
- Watch this video about St. Matthew.
- Pray for those who work for financial institutions.
- Read St. Matthew: a Patron Saint for Bankers and Accountants.
- See John Dillon medieval archives for images of St. Matthew.
- Make Silver Dollar Pancakes in honor of St. Matthew. Use this recipe on Catholic Cuisine's website or one of the suggestions Catholic Culture offers under recipes.
Autumn Embertide: Ember Wednesday
The Ember days of Autumn are days of thanksgiving for the completed harvest of fruits and grapes. The pre-1962 liturgy connects the Ember Days with the solemn commemoration of the Jewish New Year’s celebration of the Old Testament (Rosh Hashanah) and the great Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). These Ember days, therefore, have become days of thanksgiving and atonement. There are four focal points for the September Embertide:
- Days of Thanksgiving. The Autumn Ember Days days of thanksgiving for the completed harvests of fruits and particularly grapes. The former liturgy connected the Ember Days with are outside the main liturgical seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter) but are closest to the Fall Equinox. We are giving special thanks to God for the gifts of the fall harvest, particularly the grapes, which give us the gift of wine for the Eucharist.
- Days of Atonement, Spiritual Renewal and Refreshment. Holy Mother Church provides us with yet another opportunity to redirect, refresh and renew.
- Prayer for Priests. The Church no longer regularly ordains priests during the Quarterly Ember Days, but this is a special time, particularly Ember Saturday, to pray for priests and for seminarians, particularly the ones who are about to be ordained within the year.
- Reflecting on the Spirit of the Season.. Each set of Ember Days reflect the season of the Liturgical Year in which they occur. The Ember Days in September are outside the main liturgical seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter) and are closest to the Fall Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, when the days grow shorter and nights grow longer. September is harvesting time, and a time of preparation for winter. It is a busier time for most, and not just because of agrarian needs. September marks a time of transition with the beginning of the academic year.
Wednesday of Ember week was traditionally devoted to our Lady and in imitation of her it was a day of reflection and spiritual orientation. All four Ember Wednesdays were celebrated in the station church of St. Mary Major.
September Ember Wednesday Meditation
This excerpt from Pius Parsch is based on the 1962 Missal. The current Missal doesn't have special propers and readings for Ember Days.
September Ember Wednesday
Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major):
We humbly ask today's great patroness, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to obtain for us a true ember spirit and to accompany us as we approach the holy Table "to eat fat meats, and drink sweet wine, and send portions to them that have not prepared for themselves; because it is the holy (ember) day of the Lord; be not sad, for the joy of the Lord is our strength." (Msgr. Martin Hellriegel)