HOMILY OF ST ALBERT THE GREAT, BISHOP
On the Sabbath day he entered the synagogue, where those who came to listen had gathered. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were intent upon him. Some indeed with devotion, some out of curiosity, while some watched him that they might trap him in his talk. And the Scribes and Pharisees said to the people, in whom faith and devotion had already made a beginning: “Is this not the son of Joseph?” See this attitude of disparagement toward him whom they did not even deign to call by his name. “The son of Joseph,” this little the Evangelist says because he had known that both in Mark and in Matthew a fuller statement would be made: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is he not a workman, the son of Mary?” All these things were said contemptuously.
“Is not this the son of Joseph?”
Joseph is said to have been a carpenter who earned his living by his skill and the work of his hands, and he did not eat his bread in idleness and indulgence, like the Scribes and the Pharisees. Mary also worked for her living with her husband, and with competent hands. And here is the meaning of what they said about him: “This man of ignoble and poverty-stricken birth could not be Christ the Lord, whom God anointed. And thus no credence is to be given to such an uncultivated and low-born man.”
“No credence is to be given to such an uncultivated and low-born man.”
Now the Lord was a workman because the prophet said of him: “You fashioned the moon and the sun.” A similar contemptuous way of speaking is found in the Book of Kings, when they said of Saul when he became king: “What is this that happened to the son of Cis? Is Saul also among the prophets?” This slight remark shows great disparagement. For the Lord says: “Amen I say to you, that no prophet is acceptable in his own country. Here the Lord calls himself a prophet. For he, to whom all things are known through his divinity, receives no revelation of inspiration from outside himself. Here, however, he definitely calls the place of his birth and upbringing his own country. But he was not acceptable to his fellow townsmen who were incited against him by envy.