As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth. “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him.
The Church remembers Saint Matthew every year on September 21. This year a new layer was added to this remembrance. In an interview with Pope Francis posted and printed on September 19th, the Pope talked about his own calling:
Pope Francis continues his reflection and says, jumping to another topic: “I do not know Rome well. I know a few things. These include the Basilica of St. Mary Major; I always used to go there. I know St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s…but when I had to come to Rome, I always stayed in [the neighborhood of] Via della Scrofa. From there I often visited the Church of St. Louis of France, and I went there to contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew,’ by Caravaggio. “That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew.”
Here the pope becomes determined, as if he had finally found the image he was looking for: “It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” Then the pope whispers in Latin: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”
From the Web Gallery of Art:
Caravaggio: The Calling of Saint Matthew 1599-1600
Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome