Matthew was a Tax Collector before he was called to be a Disciple of Jesus. When the Pharisees talk of Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners, it’s at Matthew’s house.
I’m struck by this idea of who we eat with showing who we are, what we value. Flash back to your middle school – you know in the lunchroom who sat with whom and where was *very* important. At work, “want to grab a bite?”. At home, “tonight is family dinner – put your phones away.”
We have evolved, we humans, to value shared eating beyond simply consuming food. And Jesus was human. And Jesus ate with Matthew.
My family’s tradition is to eat silver-dollar pancakes on the Feast of Matthew, as a nod to his background and that he is the patron saint for accountants; bankers; bookkeepers; customs officers; stock brokers; tax collectors (as well as security guards and Salerno, Italy.)
I have also heard of people using this Feast as a nudge to give money to charity, or to prayerfully review the family budgeting.
This year, I am also going to be more aware of who I am spending the Feast eating *with*. In a convergence of scheduling, I will be spending this Feast on retreat with the Bishops of my diocese and others who are in discernment for ordination as deacons or priests. I have already discovered after my year of discussions with others in discernment that the act of sitting and witnessing and not letting your own journey get in the way of hearing about others is…challenging…for me.
I wonder what being at the same table will do.