Apollos is mentioned in Saturday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (18,23-28). He reminds us that Peter, Paul and the other apostles were not the only teachers in the early church. Others brought the message of Christ to the cities and towns of the Roman Empire and Apollos was one of them.
He’s an eloquent, learned teacher who came to Ephesus from Alexandria, one of the great centers of Jewish and Christian learning, and drew a following by preaching about Jesus. But Apollos doesn’t know everything, so a Jewish couple, Priscilla and Acquila, “took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.”
They were disciples of Paul whom they supported by giving him some work in their tent business. They traveled with Paul and certainly listened to his teaching, but I don’t think they were ever considered teachers as he and Apollos were. They were considered “hearers of the word,” more likely. Well informed, for sure, but still among those we would call today “the faithful.”
Yet, let’s not forget what important teachers “the faithful” are, as Priscilla and Aquila remind us.
I remember a story a brilliant priest I knew told me long ago about a baptism he was conducting for an infant born to a member of his family. His father was the baby’s sponsor and according to the rite then was expected to recite the Creed.
“Can you say the Creed, Dad?” the priest said to his father.
“Who do you think taught it to you?,” the father sharply replied.
Faith can’t survive in this world without the faithful, ordinary Priscillas and Aquilas explaining it and passing it on. It begins with parents, godparents and family passing on the faith to children. It continues in daily life as ordinary Christians share their faith with others. The church today needs to strongly acknowledge this key mission of the laity.
Pope Francis is urging the laity to speak out in his call for a synodal church.