When some we love leaves, it is unsettling indeed. These leavings happen in many ways. Jesus had already left his disciples in a most heart-breaking way at his crucifixion. Now he is going away again. How much can we take of hope and disappointment, disappointment and hope? It is not as if Jesus hasn’t been telling us about this but we were not willing to hear it. Or, if we were, we would say something like, “don’t be silly. You are going to be around for a long time.” Or, “promise me, you will never leave me”, Then we make promises like, “I will never leave you …” And then we do. We scream out, in rage, in fear, in pain, “How can you do this to me?” It is all rather bewildering really.
Spare a thought for the one leaving. We don’t really want to go, but circumstance, choice, purpose or destiny have their way somehow.
We say, “I’m sorry, but you can’t come with me, maybe later.”
Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He has already set this scene by saying he is not abandoning us. He is going on ahead. Love will remain and love will return, for love never really leaves.
“Love has you. Love is you. Love alone and your deep need for love recognises love everywhere else, even in such partings. It takes a long time to find that “It is love alone that lasts” (1 Cor. 13:13). All you have loved in your life, and been loved by, are eternal and true. Love and life are finally the same thing. You know that for yourself once you have walked through death.” (Richard Rohr). The loving does not end.
So Jesus promises, you know, and will continue to know. For this Spirit, my Spirit, will be with you, and in you. He is the resurrected Jesus we meet and who calls us to live, as he now lives (Jn.14.19), unencumbered by death freed to come and go.