This morning we hear the frightful adventure of Jonah, trapped in the belly of a whale for 3 days. One cannot hear this story and not think of the similarly frightful ordeal of the 33 Chilean miners, trapped more than 1/2 mile below the surface of the earth for almost 3 months. The reading from Jonah captures Jonah’s prayer to God, seeking relief from his current state of bondage in the whale’s belly. God hears Jonah and we are relieved to hear that the whale frees Jonah, spitting him on to the dry land. Again, we are reminded of the ongoing episode of the miners, who are in the midst of rising from the tomb of their entrapment and are free – free to be with their families and friends and free to live life again, but to live life in a very different manner as some of the freed miners have already testified.
We, too, can become entombed by things that contain us: contain and consume us if we allow them to become the center of our lives. “Those who worship vain idols forsake their true loyalty.” (Jonah 2:8) An exercise for healthy living that always provides benefit is to consider the people and events in your life that hold great significance and reflect on how much time and attention you are giving them. As one of the miners, Mario Sepulvedo, recently told CNN News, “I buried 40 years of my life down there, and I’m going to live a lot longer to be a new person…I think I have learned a lot of wonderful lessons about taking the good path in life.” Like Mario and Jonah, take the time to pray to God, bury the false idols that hold you back and take the good path in life.