Saturday, September 20, 2008

St Matthew, Apostle, Evangelist, Martyr

St Matthew is one of my patron saints. The twist here is that I did not choose him; he chose me. Very important things in my life began happening on his feast day or in and around churches and other places named for him and thus under his patronage. In a way I suppose that I ought to feel honoured, but most what I feel is a bit scared. This is the twenty-first century and things like this are not supposed to happen and continue to happen.

Nonetheless I am happy that this year his feast fell upon a Sunday. That means that I can pay a little more attention to it and celebrate it with a little more splendour than normal. The ancient custom of the feasts of the greater saints as well as the feasts of dedication and title displacing the proper of the Sunday during lesser liturgical seasons seems a more than fitting way of celebrating what Jesus the Annointed can do in the lives of quite ordinary people when they fully surrender and commit themselves to Him.

Unfortunately the number of us doing that for St Matthew and those other of the apostles whose feast fell upon a Sunday this year is going to be a great deal fewer that in past years and centuries. Why? Because the modern liturgical movement, rejecting tradition instead of explicating it. This means that those still in TEC and in the new Anglican lite groups who fail to understand that the 1979 book is heretical will be doing a Sunday after Trinity - excuse me, a Sunday after Pentecost - as they have broken with the ancient tradition of the English Church and classical and orthodox prayer book Anglicanism for something invented almost yesterday. This is not only a denial of Anglicanism; it is a rejection of Biblical principle which tells us to keep to the old paths, the ancient ways.

St Matthew wrote his gospel for the Jewish people and quoted extensively from the Old Testament so that they would know that it was all about the Messiah, his coming and his mission. Eusebius says that he wrote his gospel originally in Hebrew before translating it into Greek. He wanted the Jews, his people, to know that Jesus was the Lord for whom they waited and that he had come at last to same them and us from our sins. And this, above all things, is the reason that we should honour him this day because in honouring him we actually honour the one who was his Lord and Saviour and, hopefully by his gospel, ours as well.

3 comments:

Psalm ciii said...

I was confused by this, as St Matthew is not listed in the 1928 American Prayer Book as taking precedence over Sunday (or I am not quite understanding what it is saying in the Tables) and an Ordo from a self identified "Prayerbook Catholic" jurisdiction transferred it to 22 September. CommonPrayer.org, however, seems to reckon it as taking precedence over Sunday, although it is not listed specifically in the Tables (still a bit confused there).

I am pleased to have found your blog.

Canon Tallis said...

Psalm ciii,
Please look again at the Tables of Precedence for the "All Feasts of Apostles or Evangelists." St Matthew would qualify under either. I do not know which "Prayerbook Catholic" jurisdiction would transfer it to 22 September. That would be a mistake as the feast rates both first and second evensongs. That would mean that the first available day would be 23 September and not the 22nd as the Sunday's evensong could not be suppressed for the first evensong of the feast.

I would appreciate knowing which website or blog contained the erroneous information.

Psalm ciii said...

Ah, of course! I suppose I was expecting it to say St Matthew, and it was right in front of my face.

It was the Ordo Calendar of the Orthodox Anglican Communion that transferred the Feast to 22 September. Perhaps it is a way to sanctify the feast with its own celebration of Holy Communion apart from Sunday.