I am writing this reflection in Argentina on the 26th April 2019, and tomorrow Mons. Angelleli will be beatified along with two priests and a layman who were assassinated 1976 by the military dictatorship, the oligarchs and landowners of the province of La Rioja. The reasons for his martyrdom: he was consistent with his slogan: “one ear to God and the other to the people”, his defense of the poor and his struggle against the exploiters and parasites of society. The official church did not condemn the murder – rather they said he deserved what he got as he was a communist and guerrilla. Only for Pope Francis and the ex-bishop of La Rioja, Marcelo Colombo, and a group of followers, his memory would have been vilified forever.
In Eastertide it is fitting indeed to remember an innocent man faithful to his principles who met death at the hands of the reigning authorities. He is a true mirror of the path that Jesus took, and tomorrow, in a sense, he will be resurrected finally and glorified.
We could compare him with Peter insofar as he loved and cared for his flock, true to his call and episcopal ministry. As with Peter when he began this ministry, he had no idea where it would lead him. Only that the Master had called him.
And like the Master, he is remembered for many tender gestures towards people. We all know how much tenderness can be expressed in the preparation of a meal for someone we care for. At this Easter season in Argentina we eat a lot of fish, just as the seven fishermen named in the text would have done. Jesus kindly roasted fish for them to have breakfast and ate with them, putting behind the betrayal, the denials, the cowardice they had shown.
So we ask forgiveness for our weak moments too as we celebrate with glad hearts the Lord’s triumph over death and torture. We ask forgiveness for the regimes that promote violence, consolation for the victims in Sri Lanka and so many other places.
Lord hear our prayer. Amen
Sr. Veronica Rafferty OP