What does this mean that he is saying to us, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'?
We know Jesus loved his disciples tenderly. With his mother they were his dearest friends on earth. In today’s gospel he is preparing them for his departure, “in a little while you will not see me and again in a little while you will see me.” He warns them that his departure would not be easy for them and they would weep and mourn. But he also gives them hope that their sorrow would soon be turned to joy.
Jesus is trying to bring comfort to his disciples for he fully realizes how important his personal presence during his life has been to them. This presence had sustained them throughout his public ministry and was sustaining them now even amid the intense opposition to him that was emerging.
But Jesus knows that he can be present to them in an even more intimate way than through his physical presence. Earlier in John’s departure discourse Jesus had told them that it was better for them that he go for if he did not go the Holy Spirit would not come to them. Through the Holy Spirit he could be present to them -- guiding, strengthening and loving them -- even more intimately than through his physical presence.
Yes, it is better for them that he go.
And it is better for us!
This presence that Jesus promises is his Easter presence! It is the presence that all who have been baptized share. Jesus is alive! Jesus is with us! How blessed we are to live in the Age of the Spirit because Jesus can now be more intimately present to us than was possible during his historical life.
Becoming a mature Christian does not mean simply being guided externally by the teaching and example of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Becoming a mature Christian means identifying the life of the Spirit of Jesus within us and being guided by it. We mature as Christians to the degree we discern Jesus’ presence within ourselves and allow our lives to be directed by his saving power.
The Responsorial Psalm catches our joy: “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.”
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