In our First Reading, we encounter Apollos, an eloquent Jewish convert who speaks in the synagogue. He has an interesting situation: Apollos is knowledgeable and well spoken, but he does not know of Christ’s baptism, only the baptism of John. As he preaches and as he presumably converts others, Priscilla and Aquila take him aside to correct him and fill in the gaps in his instruction. Once instructed, he is sent on his way with encouragement and becomes an even more successful preacher.
We may have encountered people who remind us of Apollos. They have the charisma to evangelize, and they may even be intelligent and eloquent, but they do not have the whole picture. We may listen to them attentively and eagerly, only to be surprised when they are mistaken about something important regarding Faith or morality. Their heart is in the right place but perhaps they need additional catechesis to effectively spread the Gospel.
Our reading today makes it clear that both content and charisma are important to effectively preach the Gospel. We can have a whole host of natural gifts, but we need to be clear on our topic and make sure any gaps are filled in with the proper formation. Thankfully, this does not have to be complicated or time-consuming, as Apollos’ case shows. All it took was for Priscilla and Aquila to pull him aside and explain to him that Jesus had called for a new type of baptism, and he was off to the races. With his preaching complete, he could be a more effective witness to the Resurrection.
Drawing from this example, we can pray for the grace to be an effective witness of Christ to others. Apollos needed both human virtues and knowledge of the divine to be the best disciple possible. If we are lacking in charisma to communicate effectively, we can practice our writing and speaking, honing our human talents so that we provide an effective conduit for grace. If we are lacking in the proper formation in faith or morals, we can seek it out, filling in any gaps so that we are not unintentionally leading others astray and are not caught off guard when an unexpected topic arises. Either way, we can pray for both the charisma to preach the Gospel enthusiastically and the understanding to preach on the right topics with the right level of depth for the audience at hand.
Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
Readings for the Memorial of Saint Boniface, bishop and martyr Reading 1 Tb 1:3; 2:1a-8 I, Tobit, have walked all the days of my lifeon the paths of truth and…
Saint of the Day
Saint Norbert founded the order with the most difficult name to pronounce and spell—Praemonstratensians. Perhaps that’s why they go by the name of Norbertines. But this order was anything but hard to appreciate when it comes to the work they did. They were very effective in converting heretics and reconciling enemies.