In these days after the Ascension, the Liturgy calls us to turn and find our hope and security in God. Certainly this was difficult for the early disciples, who tested Jesus to see if he was who he said he was. They were satisfied with what they found, and said they believed in him. But Jesus here speaks an essential truth of the spiritual life: it’s easy to believe when things are going okay. He prophecies that they will all be tested, and indeed they were, and were scattered, and had to come to belive in him all over again.
The same will be true for us disciples in our own lives. We can make an easy enough profession of faith when we are well and things are going smoothly. But the minute some kind of challenge enters our lives, we have to decide if we are believers all over again. It’s not easy to believe in the ascended Jesus – he is not immediately visible to our sight. But, even though he is unseen, he is still very much with us.
He may be in the heaven of our hopes, but he also walks among us. We have to look for signs of his presence everywhere we go. And we will find those signs in moments of joy, times of inspiration, words from others that uplift us, and, especially, in the Eucharist. Jesus didn’t disappear from our lives when he ascended into heaven; he promised to be with us until the end of time. We are sustained by the hope that we will join him one day in the place he is preparing for us.
The world may very well scatter us and give us trouble; Jesus said as much. But we can take courage in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world and has not abandoned us.