Luke speaks of Jesus withdrawing from the disciples and yet he adds that they went back to the City “full of joy”. I used to think that this was perverse of Luke, but their joy means surely that this was not a departure bit a disappearance, the beginning not of an absence but of a hidden presence.
He must vanish from their eyes to fill their hearts. The disciples are joyful because they have begun to realise that he must vanish from sight so that they will no longer associate his presence with just one place.
Otherwise, they would be asking themselves, will they next find him at Emmaus… or Jerusalem… or Lake Tiberias? Would we next find him in London… or Manchester or Melbourne… or Lagos… or Los Angeles? But no!… Now they can believe that he is filling the whole world with his presence.
Source: Jesuits in Britain