The Crusader Newspaper Group

Saint Sabina’s Midnight Mass rocked with social justice challenges

By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader

During a nearly three-hour social justice conscious Christmas special midnight mass, Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger late Saturday night said Jesus was born 2,000 years ago but he lives in each of us today; in fact, “We are Christmas,” he told a standing-room only crowd.

With huge, colorful letters that spelled ‘JOY’ sparkling across the historic mural of Jesus and multi-colored beams of laser and strobe lights flashing off and on, young adults silently came to the front of the darkened sanctuary carrying signs that described society’s maladies just like before Christ was born.

One-by-one the youth help up their signs that read “Violence,” “Supremacy/Hate,” “Stop Deportation,” “No Guns,” “Poverty,” each yelling out, “We need you Lord” Led by gospel singer Cinque Cullar, the choir sang, “I Want to be Close to You.”

Screen Shot 2017 12 27 at 9.44.04 AMThe Spirit of David praise dancers performed including its leader, Rickey Harris who carried a live lamb in a blanket to the altar as the choir sang “Now Behold the Lamb” and “This is the air I Breathe.” Harris said, “Behold the Lamb of God into the world and then there was a transfer and Jesus became the Lamb of God…”

A mini-orchestra led Zara Zaharieva, an internationally-known violinist who plays each week at Saint Sabina, and directed by Michael Drayton, Minister of Music, the talented musicians played a medley of songs befitting of the Christmas season.

“God gave the world the son and his son came to save the world from itself,” Father Pfleger said. “The world today is yet in darkness. The world is covered by the power of injustice and evil…over the world and over this country we call America.

“Poverty is on the rise,” Pfleger said pointing go 50-years ago when Dr. Martin Luther King declared a war on poverty. “Today, you have more poverty in American than when he was here in 1968. Oh say can you see,” he said.

“Our government is corrupt. Truth has now…dismissed as fake news. We just had a new tax bill for the wealthy and privileged that will hurt poor people…most vulnerable in America,” Father Pfleger told the church. “The world is dark…and whole races of people and faiths have been demonized and called criminals, rapists and terrorists by the person in the highest office in this country.

“Hate and white supremacy is on the rise, and we should not be surprised because the hate and supremacy are being fueled and fed by the president and an administration who are” are governing by “nationalism, privileged and entitlement trying to take their country back.”

Pfleger bellowed, “This is not your country, white people.” He said they took this country “on the backs of slaves….”

Father Pfleger announced that one of the peacemaker’s was shot and kill. “It is immoral to live in a day where parents bury their children. The world is dark and racism, and sexism and classism have become acceptable norms. We see our children being shot down in the streets by rouge police officers and self-hating brothers on the block who are punks because anybody who think guns will make you powerful is nothing but a punk. You make you a man….”

Speaking on the countless charges of sexual harassment, Father Pfleger said, “No woman should ever feel intimidated, threatened or disrespected or forced to do anything against her will…not just by some boss but uncle….”

“But as this sweeping harassment goes on, I believe we’re handling this wrong because we’re handling it the same way we handle other issues by punishment,” he stated. Pfleger said they never get to the root of the behavior. “We have to move beyond this Western mentality of just punishing people.”

If you break the law, Pfleger said you deserve to go to jail but punishment “ought not to be a form of motivation.”

“When are we going to get the courage to confront this sick world that continues to use women and men to sell, seduce and market everything from cars from cologne. You can’t say sexual harassment is wrong when its still being played on commercials” and aimed at seducing people…. Our world is dark.

Revering to the president of the U.S. and of North Korea, Pfleger said, “We have two egotistical bullies, one in the White House and one in North Korea who are playing dozens with each other while our lives are at stake at the risk of nuclear war.

“How do we teach our children values and morals about bullying when the man bullies every day in his tweets and have the nerve the audacity to condemn a black man who took a knee….. Donald Trump, you will never be the man Colon Kaepernick is….”

“America’s dream and pursuit of dignity and happiness have become an illusion,” bellowed Pfleger. “The soul of this nation and the integrity of faith is at stake. Where the hell is the church as a prophetic voice for this day and this season in America? Our integrity is at stake.

“Once again, the children of God are crying out, ”Lord heal us. Lord help us. Lord deliver us. Lord free us from this kind of world we’re living in all over America. The problem is we who call ourselves Christians–followers of Christ and disciples of Jesus are seemingly still looking up for the answer. We get in our churches we’re still looking up for Jesus to be born….” He said 2,000 years ago Jesus was born. “Jesus is not going to be born again. The next time he comes is to wrap this thing up, shut this thing down, turn this mother around….”

“But until then, Jesus is not coming down to free, to deliver or to save. Jesus is not going to be born again because Jesus is you. Jesus is here. You are Jesus…. We are Jesus,” Pfleger said pointing to the congregation. “We are the Jesus the world is looking for.”

Father Pfleger said, “It’s time for the Jesus people to rise up, time for the Jesus people to stand up. I’m waiting for you to be a threat to injustice…, a threat whether it’s the workhouse or on a corner. It’s time to be a threat to supremacy and entitlement. It’s time to be a threat to poverty, injustice, racism…to business as usual….

“It time to be a threat to bad schools, unemployment” and all of the social maladies that plague today’s society, said Father Pfleger.

And, when you finish eating your Christmas dinner, Pfleger challenged them to get up and change the world.

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