On Following the "Prodomos"
5th Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

John chapter 14 verses 1-12, Hebrews chapter 6 verse 20

Jesus is a true leader in the classical sense. He goes out in front for us to follow. "I am going to Heaven to prepare a place for you ...I am the way, follow me." (John 14:1-12.)

In Hebrews 6: 20 the word "prodomos" is used. It is usually translated as "forerunner." In the Roman army the word described reconnaissance troops who went ahead to blaze the trail for the rest to follow.

The harbour at Alexandria had a notoriously difficult approach and when the great grain ships came into it, a little pilot boat was sent out to guide them into safe waters. The little craft was named "Prodomos." Like Jesus, it went first, so that others might safely follow.

Jesus was going to Heaven, the time for His Ascension was near. He was going to what He called, His Father's house. Years before, when He had called the Apostles to ministry, he had said, "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Now He is saying, "Come follow me and I will assure you a place in my Father's house

Many believe that the quality of accommodation allotted will depend upon the quality of the Christian life we have lived. Certainly the early Jews believed this to be the case. So too did the Apostles and the early Church. No doubt some still believe it to this day. Perhaps they are right. No one knows for sure, but I prefer the theory which suggests that Jesus is simply telling us that there is room for all of us. No turning away, no overcrowding, no having the door closed in our faces! Jesus seems to be responding to basic concerns of average people. We are assured that Heaven implies true equality, an equality reflecting our having been washed perfectly clean in the blood of the Lamb.

I suspect that some of you are thinking it unfair that those who have lived truly saintly lives receive a reward no greater than the worldliest among us. Why do you think Jesus told the story of the workers in the vineyard who got the same wage regardless of how many hours they put in?

The truth is that none of us DESERVES a place in The Father's house. We are welcome because we are loved. So, learn now to serve and value God before everything and everyone else, and not for your own sake, not to earn points; but quite simply for the love of God made visible in Jesus Christ.

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