Christmas homily – Abbot Elias

ABBOT ELIAS DIETZ, O.C.S.O.

Homily – Christmas Day Mass, Dec. 25, 2018

[Jn 1:1-14]

In Him it is Always Yes

This wonderful and mysterious Prologue to John’s gospel is the deepest expression of what we celebrate at Christmas: Jesus come among us as the Word made flesh.

But to avoid staying in abstractions, it might be helpful to consider what that Word sounds like. Saint Paul tells us that “the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, … was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes.  For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (2 Cor 1:19–20). So, the Word with a capital W is a Yes with a capital Y, and it comes through loud and clear from all eternity.

From the moment of creation the Word was spoken: Yes, let there be light; Yes, what I have created is good. And in our case he meant what he said: not only did he affirm that our flesh is good, he became that flesh; God’s ultimate Yes to creation.

To paraphrase John’s Prologue: What came to be through him was life, and this life was his Yes to us, and his Yes drowns out any Nos, and no No can overcome his Yes.

We hear this Word made flesh most concretely in the garden of Gethsemani: not my will, but yours be done—the Son’s Yes to the Father.

All the important Yeses in history are echoes of the eternal Yes. Mary’s fiat, ‘let it be done’, is the key one.

And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory as of the Father’s only Son,

full of grace and truth.

No wonder the angel called Mary “full of grace.” It takes a lot of grace and an expansive heart for a small human Yes to echo the eternal Yes of God’s Word, itself full of grace and truth.

And so a good question for you and for me this Christmas Day is how clearly this Yes echoes in your heart and in my heart. Am I saying yes when invited to stretch my willingness to help, to take part, to learn something new? Is my gaze on the world and on those around me like God’s gaze—yes, it is good—or is it a disapproving gaze and succession of nos? Ideally we will follow Mary’s lead and leave plenty of room inside for the eternal Yes to echo, and like her be filled with the grace and truth that come to us through Jesus, the Word made flesh.