I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
14:18 desolate: Literally, “orphans”. I will come to you: i.e., with the Father and the Spirit (14:23). When Jesus withdraws his visible presence from the world, he does not withdraw his spiritual presence. Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the liturgy, where he ministers through his priests, speaks through the Scriptures, and sanctifies us through the sacraments. By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.
It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,” even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love (CCC 788, 1380).
At various points in the Supper, we can see the apostles growing sad when the Lord bids them farewell. Jesus speaks to them with great tenderness, calling them “little children” and “friends” and he promises that he will not leave them alone, for he will send the Holy Spirit, and he himself will return to be with them again. And in fact he will see them again after the Resurrection when he appears to them over a period of forty days to tell them about the Kingdom of God.
When he ascends into heaven they will see him no longer; yet Jesus still continues to be in the midst of his disciples as he promised he would, and we will see him face to face in heaven. Then it shall be that we will be able to see that which we believe. For even now he is with us, and we in him […]; but now we know by believing, whereas then we shall know by beholding. As long as we are in the body, such as it is now, that is, corruptible, which weighs down the soul, we are making our way towards the Lord: for we walk by faith, not by sight. But then we shall see him directly, we shall see him as he is.
– St Augustine, In Ioann. Evang., 75
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.