O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory, that it may soon begin to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen.
– The Raccolta
The readings for the commemoration of all the faithful departed (All Souls) cycle A can be found here.
The Gospel reading for all souls day is a short snippet of a larger homily presented by John’s Jesus. I will setup the scene so that we can understand the context of the homily.
Jesus has just fed 5000 people with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish and made an escape into the hills to avoid further demands of the people. During the night Jesus’ disciples sailed for Capernaum across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus met them in the middle of the sea walking across the water. The people caught up with Jesus the next day in Capernaum and pressed Him for answers regarding; “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus told the people to believe in Him.
This is the basic setup for the Gospel reading. Scripture scholars will tell you that John’s Jesus then delivers a homily where He discusses Exodus 16:15 and Isaiah 54:13 to update those OT verses for the Christian community. The people’s response to Jesus’ words reflect the conflict John’s community was facing as the Christians were being ejected from the synagogues. The people tell Jesus that their ancestors ate manna in the desert and they wanted to know what sign He could perform so that they might believe in Him. This was clearly one of the arguments leveled against the early Christian community from those who were afraid to give up their old faith.
The Jewish leaders of the synagogue were rejecting and Johannine community and kicking them out. In response, Jesus explained to those in attendance in Capernaum that unlike Moses who prayed, and God sent manna from heaven, that Jesus himself was manna from heaven. Everyone who believes in Jesus can have eternal life. Jesus does not reject anybody.
You are accepted by Jesus. The Gospel is a snippet and the homily is simple; God loves you and accepts you as you are.