Fr Hugh’s Homily for Baptism of the Lord
What is the limit of Jesus’s reach? What is his aim? For traditional Jews the aim of the Messiah was the renewal of the people of Israel. Later in Matthew’s gospel, when he meets the Canaanite woman and he is doubtful about contact with a Gentile she begs for the scraps for others too, and he seems to have reflected on the breadth of his mission at this point. Matthew is writing for a community whose background was strongly Jewish and as we see in Paul’s writings many wanted to stick closer to Judaism, but the writer wants them to reflect on their openness to Gentiles too. So Matthew starts his gospel with two stories that are strongly about Jesus’ worldwide mission. Obviously the feast of the Epiphany we have just had with the wise men from other nations in the east. But though it is not so obvious, his baptism is about this as well….