“He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.” Acts 18: 26
Both readings that we have in today’s Mass remind us that learning what it means to be a disciple and a minister within our church is a life-long task. In today’s Gospel reading, we see Jesus continue to teach his disciples about the special relationship there is between The Father and Jesus and the need for the disciples to understand and believe in that relationship. These particular lessons, which began with the washing of the feet in Chapter 13, would not be fully comprehended until Jesus died, rose from the dead and ascended to His God so that He could send us His Holy Spirit. That Spirit would anoint them with powerful gifts on the day of Pentecost.
This was no longer a moment of initial faith for the disciples, that is, the moment when they first met Jesus and were called to believe in him and follow him. Rather it was a moment of deepening that faith in the person of Jesus, as He revealed himself more profoundly with each passing day and with each passing moment. It was a reminder that his disciples, which includes us, were to be life-long learners in deepening our relationship with God and with Jesus and all of God’s people.
However, the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, adds another dimension to this call to be life-long learners of our faith. It is a dimension that continues to challenge us even to this day. This reading clearly says that the accurate teaching of the disciple Apollos, an authority on Scripture, needed to learn a more accurate understanding of the preaching he was proclaiming from a married couple, in particular, from Priscilla, who took the lead in this teaching. If we are not open to learn about our faith from the women who surround us, then we will never attain the level of holiness that the Apostles and the disciples attained in their life-time. It was a woman, Mary the mother of Jesus, who first announced that Jesus was to the Savior of the world, it was Mary Magdalene, who first announced that Jesus was raised from the dead and now we have a woman, Priscilla, who was instructing an authority of the Scriptures. There are many more examples from our Scripture.
Today’s readings should challenge all of us to be constant learners of our faith and to be always open to those who can teach us that faith more accurately, especially from all of the women in our lives. We pray for the humility of the Scripture scholar, Apollos.
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.