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Hosea, the flashlight man on Broadway, and hope



Msgr. Gregory E.S. Malovetz - published on 12/23/23

Pilgrims to the Manger: Jesus is God’s faithfulness to the cast of characters who make up the human race.

Previews of a play allow the cast and director to work out dramatic and technical kinks before opening night. During the preview of a recent Broadway musical, part of the revolving stage malfunctioned. An announcement explained what happened, assuring it would take four minutes to fix. The maintenance crew included a man whose sole job was to hold the flashlight. You could feel the audience’s impatience as four minutes became 20. When finally repaired, the man with the flashlight turned to the audience, took a bow, walking off stage to applause. 

The prophet Hosea’s marriage malfunctioned when he discovered the woman he married was a prostitute. His world came to a grinding halt when she left him. Hosea would not let the curtain come down. He stood on the stage of life holding the light of hope; a willingness to faithfully wait for her to return. Hosea received no applause, yet his story becomes a symbol of God’s faithfulness even when we turn away. 

The birth of Jesus begins a new act in the drama of faith. Jesus is God’s faithfulness to the cast of characters who make up the human race. Even when betrayed, mocked, misunderstood, or abandoned, Jesus was a light of hope. Nothing we do could make God love us less.

In the time of Jesus, shepherds were often despised, not trusted, and some were thieves. I imagine Hosea standing in the field with them, pointing out the light in the sky. The angels circling above deliver the message: The wait is over. You are not the sum total of every bad choice made. The faithful love of Jesus will heal and restore you. I see the shepherds’ stunned look, and listen as the angels proclaim, ‘Yes, we mean you.’ Hosea stands with them in the light. And I join in the applause.


[The Aleteia community is joining the journey of an Old Testament pilgrim each day this Advent, as they lead us to the Christ Child in this holy season. Find the daily reflections here.]

Pilgrims to the Manger
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