Our first reading today deals with the town of Ephesus in Asia Minor. It speaks of an occurrence there a few years after St. Paul had been there and left.
Ephesus was visited by an eager new Christian named Apollos. It seemed that he knew of the baptism of John the Baptist, but not of Christian baptism as such. A pair of Paul’s converts, Priscilla and her husband Aquila set him straight on that.
Mention of Aquila has me remembering a mistake I made in 1955. I had arrived as pastor in a Korean town, and the Catholics there recommended my turning my laundry over to a young mother who was studying to become a Catholic. Her husband had been lost in the war, and she had a bright little son and daughter. She did such a beautiful job on washing and pressing my things, that it came as a surprise when I learned that the family of three were living in a cave left from a heavy bombardment of the town.
My mistake was that when the lady ready for Baptism asked me for a good Christian name, I baptized her Aquila, not realizing that it was a man’s name.
I just bought and got into reading a new biography of Pope John XXIII. From age thirty to fifty he worked as Rome’s representative to Bulgaria and Turkey, and he later came to feel that his understanding of life was greatly aided by his association with those people so totally different from the Catholics he grew up with.