"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

Couple-Saints: Aquila and Priscilla

et's talk about "couple-saints," focusing on a notable Roman duo, Saints Aquila and Priscilla, who were highlighted in today's first reading. This married couple played a pivotal role in the early Christian community, alongside many other laypeople. We often place Saint Paul on a pedestal, revering him as the Apostle to the Gentiles or simply The Apostle—a title that underscores his mission to preach the Gospel to non-Jews, including us. However, without Saints Aquila and Priscilla, there might not have been a Saint Paul as we know him; they were not only his fellow tentmakers but also his stalwart supporters.

After facing ideological challenges in Athens, Paul traveled to Corinth, as recounted in Acts: "He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade" (Acts 18:1-8). Arriving in a state of low spirits from Athens—a city known for its intellectual rigor—Paul found much-needed consolation with Aquila and Priscilla. He later described his condition in his first letter to the Corinthians: “I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3). After their time in Corinth, they accompanied Paul to Ephesus and later returned to Rome after the expulsion edict was lifted, where their home became a hub not only for the early Christians but the first Christian martyrs whose blood would serve as the seedbed of generations of Christians to come.

There is a saying "It takes a village to raise a child." The phrase originates from an African proverb and conveys the message that it takes many people not just an individual to raise a Christian. This is a reminder not to miss the forest for the trees. In the context of the roles of Saints Aquila and Priscilla in supporting Saint Paul, it encourages us to appreciate not only their individual contributions but also their collective impact as couples on the early Christian community. We owe it to couples like Aquila and Priscilla.

To fully appreciate St Paul's contributions, we must not fail to recognize the individuals who supported him. Let us follow their example of building enduring Christian communities that include entire households or couples, which was essential because practicing Christianity, then illegal, required the solidarity of entire families. It is noteworthy that like Paul, Aquila and Priscilla were also martyred for their faith. Their story reminds us of the profound impact of community and mutual support in the early Church. Sts Aquila and Priscilla, Pray for us. Fr JM Manzano SJ