There was a lot of rejoicing at St. Sabina Parish, 1210 W. 78th Place, when Archbishop Cupich celebrated Mass there on March 6, Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday. It was the archbishop’s first visit to St. Sabina since becoming the head of the Archdiocese of Chicago in November 2014. The congregation greeted him with energetic choirs and musicians along with liturgical dancers. There should be a new TV show called “St. Sabina’s Got Talent,” the archbishop told them. When he introduced Archbishop Cupich prior to the homily, senior pastor Father Michael Pfleger thanked him for three things he has brought to Chicago in his ministry. “First, the tone that you bring, the tone that the Holy Father has loosened across this world,” he said, adding that it’s one of acceptance that is much needed “in a day when there’s so much judgment and condemnation.” Next, Pfleger thanked the archbishop for speaking out for the poor and against gun violence. Lastly, he thanked him for involving the entire local church in looking ahead through the Renew My Church campaign to help revitalize parishes. Standing up to begin his homily, Archbishop Cupich told the congregation that he wanted to “speak from the heart” rather than from a prepared text. He spoke about the joy of God and the temptation to exclude others from the table of life. He pointed to the Israelites mentioned in that Sunday’s first reading who finally reached the Promised Land. “Now they’re in the Promised Land, and in that Promised Land they work together in the fields. They share in the harvest. And everyone has a room, a place at the table of life,” he said. “That’s the joy that the Lord wants to give us. That’s why we should rejoice.” But there can be some pitfalls when seeking out that joy. “Jesus today reminds us that there is a perennial temptation to shortchange that joy by excluding some at the table of life,” he said. “The Lord today wants to remind us that deep within our hearts is that aspiration that we have the kind of joy that joins hands in building a city together.” Each person has that aspiration but a spirit that seeks to exclude others can lurk in our hearts. “We have to be careful of that for it can turn, not just individuals, but groups of people and a whole society and a nation at times, in a direction that is so destructive to the common good,” he said. “It is the temptation of the evil one.” The job of believers is to constantly appeal to the desire in our hearts to share in God’s joy. The parish of St. Sabina is close to that desire and celebrates that joy, the archbishop said. That joy knows that possessions and power don’t matter in life. It’s people and relationships that are our true treasures. “Today in our society as we look around the landscape of our political life, of our communal life and our social life in the city, it’s an opportunity for communities like this to keep alive before those who govern us that people come first when we do a budget; that while everyone wants their rights protected the rights that we have to have joy of working with each other in secure neighborhoods is primary above all others,” he said. “And yes, to keep before us as well, that we share in common with the brothers and sisters throughout this community that same desire to have that joy.” He also stressed the importance of accountability. “Citizens and law enforcement officials get up every day and want to make sure that the society is protected. And yes, when some in our society and some in law enforcement go another direction, accountability has to be there for all of us,” he said. At the end of Mass, Pfleger told the congregation that Archbishop Cupich would visit two homebound parishioners after the service. Following Mass, Betty Harwell, who has been a parishioner at St. Sabina since 1991, said she appreciated Archbishop Cupich taking time to visit her parish. “He believes in what we’re doing and that’s a good thing, to have a good relationship the archbishop, and I appreciate that very much,” she said.