The Word of God

Whales and Robbers

Reflection on Mass Reading for October 7, 2019

“But the LORD sent a large fish, that  swallowed Jonah; and Jonah 
remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Keep in mind that everything written in the Old Testament is preparing us for the New. Everything. The Bible is the complete, composite, Word of God = Jesus! Therefore, what is the relationship between Jonah and the Good Samaritan? There are several clues. First is the mention of the “belly” of the whale, beten in Hebrew which is also the word for womb. Israelite creation stories use three important metaphors to indicate the connection between birth and death: 1. womb, 2. tomb, and 3. dungeon. The womb is the primary key word because the grave and the dungeon are all considered as wombs from which new life emerges. The fact that Jonah is in the “dungeon” of the  whale for three days clearly prepares us for the three days that Jesus spent in the “belly” of the earth. We all know that a whale could never hold the body of a man so the actual whale here is more like a dragon or monster (something evil) in Hebrew. “You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.” 

“And who is my neighbor?” That is important when we ask who is the Good Samaritan? To answer that, let’s look at the story: “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” The words, a man, in Hebrew, is the same for humanity. That changes things, doesn’t it? So if the story is about humanity that has been jumped by the evil one, then it is Jesus who is the only one who can help, seeing how the old priesthood (the unhelpful cleric) and the old Law (the Levite) cannot help by themselves. So He approaches the victim, coming down as He did from Heaven in Bethlehem (Christmas), pours wine and oil in the wound (Sacramental Life), lifts the wounded, lifts him upon His own animal (becomes Human through the Incarnation), takes him to an inn (The Church), leaves two coins, (Scripture and Tradition) and then utters those immortal words by promising that He’ll take care of everything “on my way back” (The End of the World, or Apocalypse). So in a phrase, what does this all mean? If you want out of the whale, be like Jesus, love like Jesus, remain with the Church and wait with innocent love so He will recognize you “when He comes again.”

The thing is, God has already seen every twist and turn of your life. He already knows what’s in your heart. He already knows the decisions you’ve made. He’s just waiting for you to all on Him and be honest with him like Jonah was. Victoria Osteen

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