This is no longer Ascension Thursday. The first reading tells us that at his arrival in Corinth Paul met with Aquila and Priscilla who were part of a mass banishment of Jews from Rome under Emperor Claudius. The Roman writer Suetonius puts that expulsion in the year 40 A.D. So this mention of Aquila and Priscilla helps us fix the year of Paul’s coming to Corinth.
The name Aquila fits into one of my old Korea stories, and I’m afraid you will have to put up with it. In September of 1954 I was made pastor of a county north of the 38th parallel. Our Marines had won it back from North Korea in the fighting. I found that all the young men from our county had been drafted into the North Korean army, and they had left dozens of young wives with children behind. One such left-behind wife came to me, asking for the job of doing my laundry and cleaning.
She soon surprised me with her ability to recite the answers to our catechism. When I came to baptize her, she and her god-mother told me they had chosen a Bible name for her. It was Aquila, so Aquila she became and remained. It was only later I noticed that Aquila was a man, the husband of Priscilla.
Aquila had a four-year old boy I baptized Paul. She also had a six-year-old daughter I baptized Donna. The rectory and church linen that Aquila did for me were spotless and beautifully pressed. So, it came as a surprise for me when I learned that Aqjuila, Paul, and Donna lived in a cave they had dug in a nearby hill.
Donna grew up to marry a fine young man. Paul became the spokesman for all our young people. I sent him through school. Sadly, he wasn’t very old when he passed away in Germany, where he raised a fine Catholic family.
That little family turns my thoughts to the millions of refugees who are trying to make a go of it. I feel they put me to shame.