Sermoncitos, a family tradition
Seek the Kingdom
When Bessie responded to the testimony of the spirit and joined the church through baptism, she entered at the straight gate, (Mathew 7:13). This narrow path requires us to exercise faith by following the Savior and his example.
Jesus said, “follow me” (Mathew 4:19). We learn from Bessie that we never know how close to the Kingdom of Heaven we really are. Jesus said, “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mathew 4:17).
Bessie’s last wish was to bring the family together in spite of the differences. We should be like Bessie and forgive others, (verse14-15). We should be like Bessie and treasure eternal values, (verse 19-21).
Jesus asked us to not judge others (Mathew 7:1-5), but to use good judgement (verse 6). Truth is not whatever is convenient or logical for us, it is a narrow path, that we find by exercising faith as we seek the Kingdom of God. (Mathew 4:4).
In our daily choices, it is my prayer that we be like Bessie and show enough faith to choose to follow Jesus rather than depend upon our own strength and judgement.
The Atonement and Resurrection
My heart has been tender all this spring time as I pondered the love my Savior has for me. I see reminders of His condescension all around me in nature and in the messages I hear from the prophets and apostles, the special witnesses. We have a Heavenly Father. Jesus is his literal son. Jesus Christ is the creator of heaven and earth, the Savior of all mankind, and the God of every nation on the earth.
We need not doubt the reality of the resurrection, as there have been many witnesses. Jesus said to the people in Zarahemla, “arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the the prints of the nails in the hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” 3 Nephi 11:14.
All through the Book of Mormon we read of the cycle of pride and humility: pride leading people to sin and judge others, and the inevitable suffering bringing about the humility that puts the people back in touch with the Spirit and in the service of others. Then the Spirit of God leads them on the straight and narrow path that leads to the Plan of Happiness. The greatest blessing of the Atonement of Christ we celebrate today, is forgiveness. Christ has the power to cleanse us from our sins as we accept His intervention for us through faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end.
Bessie asked to be dressed in her temple clothing. She had learned in the temple of the Plan of Happiness. She knew that Christ had the power to die due to having a mortal mother, and the power to overcome death for himself and for all of us due to having an Eternal Father. I know her testimony, and I know she would say to all of you like Moroni said, “and now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead” Moroni 10:34.
Like Bessie, I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ, whose Atonement and Resurrection we celebrate each time we partake of the Sacrament, is our living Savior. I have received this powerful witness of the Spirit as I studied the Gospel and tried to live my covenants. I have learned by the Spirit that this is His church, led by living prophets, and endowed with power in the priesthood.
Let us be like Bessie and “judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1,2). The trend worldwide is to judge ourselves less in favor of blaming others. Jesus calls hypocrites those who are more concerned about the “mote that is in thy brother’s eye” instead of considering “the beam that is in thine own eye; (Matthew 7:3).
Bessie knew that living the Gospel is not so complicated. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat;
I was thirsty and ye gave me drink;
I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
naked, and ye clothed me;
I was sick and ye visited me;
I was in prison and ye came unto me” (verses 34-36).
Jesus commands us to pray to the Father in His name: “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name." (Mathew 6:9).
Bessie prayed that Randy would graduate and that her family would come together. She knew that “whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that you shall receive, behold, it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:20).
Bessie hoped that her family could “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38).
Like Bessie, we all suffer during our hours on this earth; but like Bessie we should praise God and be grateful for life and the blessings we receive from Him. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25).
Like Bessie we should “Pray for our families unto the Father, always in Jesus’s name, that our wives and children may be blessed” (3 Nephi 18:21). “O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 5:2).
We pray for you that you may always remember your covenants and walk in the path that leads to happiness. May you continually have His Spirit by being like Bessie and remembering to pray always.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.