One of the benefits of aging is the wisdom that comes with experience and time. We often develop a clearer understanding of complicated concepts as we progress through this life.
When I was younger I wondered why Jesus left us. Why did he have to ascend into heaven? Couldn’t he have stayed here indefinitely for all of us to touch and listen to first-hand?
I’m finally understanding that is exactly what he did. Jesus did stay. Jesus is alive and with us. And we find evidence of his presence in so many ways.
We have the Living Word that says that Jesus is alive – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20); “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11); “But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood” (Hebrews 7:24); “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God” (1 John 4:15).
Jesus also left us the gift of the Eucharist. We can literally take him into our body and soul through his Eucharistic presence. We can consume his body and blood, becoming one with him.
And then there are all those personal experiences that tell us Jesus lives. How often do we pray for something and are then amazed at the incredible way our prayer was answered? That’s Jesus. How about the times we literally feel a force greater than us, working with us? That’s Jesus. So is the sound of a baby laughing and birds singing, the suffering sick in hospitals and homebound, the homeless shivering under viaducts, and the teamwork that happens between neighbors and coworkers. Jesus is in all of us and everything. He lives everywhere above, below and all around.
It’s impossible for us to fully comprehend God and all God’s work. But we do understand it better through the days of our lives. If nothing else, we can increasingly appreciate the magnificent, glorious, and merciful power of our Lord.