The bread of life discourse reminds us that the Eucharist is real food and real drink. In other words, it is nourishment not only for our souls but for our bodies as well. The Eucharist is intimately connected to the other two sacraments of initiation: Baptism and Confirmation. Once a person has completed all three sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, he or she is considered an “adult” in the Christian community.
Obviously, most of us complete our initiation around age 13 or 14, so the term “adult” is used loosely. But from a spiritual perspective, by the time a person reaches their early teens he or she is capable of making decisions which will have an impact on their eternal life. Moreover, they are beginning to be held responsible for those decisions. As people age, they should know the difference between right and wrong, between salvific actions and sinful ones. Sometimes they make mistakes; but hopefully, they will learn from them and thus grow in wisdom and grace.
As the letter to the Ephesians notes, “be very careful about the sort of lives you lead…this may be a wicked age, but you redeem it.” If a person chooses to get involved in drugs or alcohol or illicit sexual activity, that will have an effect later on in life. If a teen posts a “goofy” comment or picture on FaceBook, it can determine if he or she will get a job in their later 20s.
In other words, the bread of life discourse invites us to be wise in the eyes of God. If we truly want to have life eternal, we need to nourish ourselves on the Word of God and with the Sacraments. The Word-made-flesh dwells within us. When we feast on the Lord, we draw life from Him. When we feed our minds and hearts with God’s wisdom, we begin to walk in the way of perfection.
May each of us continue to grow in the wisdom of God by nourishing ourselves on His Word and Sacraments.