The recent death of my classmate happened to occur on April 6th, the same Sunday when the Gosepl reading was the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaeus. Meeting Christ, they don't recognize Him, but after He reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread, they say to each other, while He was with with us, were not our hearts burning?
At any memorial service, you hear the usual words said about what a great person the decedent was, how they touched so many lives, and what an effect they had on this world. Were not our hearts burning? I think even more important is to recognize that what you are memorializing was your opportunity to recognize Christ walking on the road next to you.
We are called to live a Christ-like life and we struggle with that, but there is the opportunity to look around and see where someone else might be doing just that! Of course, as Catholics we have the Saints as our models, for which we are grateful. But even they serve to be such after their deaths. Where are the Saints-in-the-making?
Were not our hearts burning? The death of a friend, especially one so young, should cause a moment in our busy lives to stop and reflect not upon their death but upon our lives and the lessons learned from them. But don't stop there. Recognize when someone is acting as Christ right now, walking right next to you. In fact, look for it. Emmaeus is a beautiful story but in some aspect it is bittersweet since the epiphany of the disciples occurs after He left them in human form (albeit leaving the Living Bread). I ask that the Holy Spirit help me to discern that heartburn that tells me, He is present, so I am not always mourning the death of a good person and thinking were not our hearts burning.