Some years ago, when I was in my first pastoral appointment, I met an 11-year-old named Victor at youth court. A friend had asked me to serve as translator for Victor's father, who spoke only Spanish, because Victor was about to be tried for shooting a child in the leg with a BB gun. Violence and trouble were part of life in Victor's neighborhood.
When I was a child, my mother and aunt would go Christmas shopping together. At the end of the day, I would beg them to take me to the park near the shopping district. There, nestled in a dark grove of trees, we’d find a life-size nativity, carefully illumined with spotlights from within the stable.
The prevailing topic of conversation at my mother's retirement home is
the food: the menu, the cooks and—not least—the order in which people
are served. While I tire of of hearing about the daily drama, I know
that what is true at "the home" is true for many of the rest of us.
After meeting Jesus, an excited Philip seeks out Nathanael to tell him they have found the one “about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” But Nathanael’s response is not very promising. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” he responds skeptically.