Life is full of union and separation. We meet, assemble, congregate and gather and then we disperse, break up, scatter or leave. There are repetitions of gathering and also separations and that is the reality of life. There is no re-union without separation and there is no separation without longing to meet again. Separation often bears some form of hurt or longing to meet again because the absence of love or to be exact it is the love invisible, disappears from our physical eyes and that makes us long to see or meet again.
Jesus from his personal experience understands that his apostles would miss him dearly when they don't see him in person. To reconfirm of his return he told them that:
In a little while you will not see me anymore, and then a little while later you will see me Jn 16,16
Jesus told his disciples that they will see him no longer for a while. It is not for long time and yet it is long enough for them to suffer, to live in fear, to be scattered and to feel abandoned but they will soon see him again. The reunion gave them much joy. Indeed, they are shouting with joy when they see the Lord. It is much more than the hurt of separation.
The separation is good for both Jesus and for his apostles. It is good for Jesus in a sense that Jesus longs to return to the Father and that gives him much joy and also the glorification he gains for the Father. The separation is better for the apostles in various ways.
First, it is because the apostles will see Jesus again in a new way. The new way is no more spiritual separation because Jesus is being transformed to a way that is mysterious for the human mind to understand. The apostles of Jesus sometimes see him in person but most of the time they only feel him in spirit. They believe that Jesus is near but invisible to their eyes. Jesus is always with them in their missionary and journey of faith.
Second, the separation is for the better because through it Jesus reveals his own identity as God whose glorification is much more powerful than death. Death is being defeated and it is extended to those who placed their faith in Jesus and share his glorification. They will die no more but their physical body needs to transform to be more like Jesus.
Third, the separation is for the better because the new life in Christ is given to the apostles that change their life, change their way of thinking. It changes their vocation and their service of love for one another. It shines into their heart a new light and gives the purpose for their lives.
Fourth, the separation is for the better because they adopt a new way of life according to the guidance of the spirit of God given to them through the resurrection of Jesus. The spirit will guide them step by step in becoming more like Christ both in serving and loving for the world and for others. Jesus loves us with an unselfish love and that our love for others which is resembled the unselfish love of Jesus. It is possible to love others unconditionally because the love of Jesus in them gives them the power to love as God loves them.
Fifth, it is better because the love we receive from Jesus, that God through Jesus initiates the first step of reconciliation to the human race. It is weather we see it, accept it or deny it, God in Christ opens the door for reconciliation to love one another as Jesus taught not only binds us to one another, but also evokes Christ's spirit in our midst.
The Church that Christ has established continues to assert this teaching despite pluralistic views of religion. It is a challenging task for the Church today.