The funeral scene mentioned in Luke's passage this morning would not have gone unnoticed. In fact, it would probably have been impossible not to notice. it. There would have been 'professional' mourners that would have accompanied the poor widow as the procession made its way through the city streets. As they went along, others would have joined the procession and the wailing.
In many respects, things haven't changed too much. You have heard the phrase 'misery loves company'. Well, that seems to be the case in times of death. We come together, which is a good thing. Our gathering with others isn't to make us all feel miserable, but rather to strengthen hope, to provide love and support to the family and to give them the strength they need to get through the shock of losing a loved one. It is after all one of the corporal works of mercy (bury the dead).
What happens afterwards? Everyone returns to life, their daily tasks and responsibilities. This is a particularly difficult time for the widow or the one who now left alone. The harsh reality of hits that life is for the living and life goes on without the loved one.
If you recall, at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, Jesus tells us "I have given you a model to follow. As I have done, so you must do." Looking to Jesus' example we are reminded that in addition to the corporal works of mercy, there are the spiritual works of mercy. Among them is "comfort the sorrowful".
As Christians, we have an obligation not to forget those mourning the loss of a loved one after the funeral rites. Obviously we do need to return to work and our daily responsibilities. However, we still need to be Christ to others. We need to be sure that we 'check in' with those who have recently experienced a loss, keep them in our prayers and remind them that they are not alone.