Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I will place my law within them and write it on their hearts.

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“I will place my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 


Growing up, one of the things I loved about my father was that he had a tool for everything. He allowed us to use any of them to work on anything we could, like our cars and our car stereos. Anytime we’d get stuck on something, we could just go to my dad, and he’d help us figure it out. Then we’d be able to do it ourselves.

 So we grew up with this lack of fear. We believed we could work on anything and restore it. In that way, he gave us great freedom. He had one rule, though, and that rule was: Every tool has its place, and you have to return the tool to its proper place.

As kids, we didn’t always follow this rule. So my dad, somewhere along the line, came up with his trademark. A yellow paint stick. Over the years, he’d use it to write “Denk,” D-E-N-K, on all his tools. No matter what the tool was, it would have this big, remarkable, sometimes ugly, yellow writing on it that said “Denk,” and you knew whose tool it was.

For example, if you were welding and you flipped the mask down, right across the front of it, it would say “Denk.” If you had a chainsaw and you were cutting a tree down, what would it say right on the blade? “Denk” written in really big, bright, yellow letters. This was written on the tool no matter what the tool was, no matter how big or small. You could have a hammer and on the side of the hammer it would say “Denk” in big yellow letters.

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And so, over the years, we kind of made fun of him. One Christmas, we got him a brand new nail gun, and it was a beautiful nail gun! But right on the side of it, in big yellow letters was written “D-E-N-K.” You always knew it was my father’s tool. It would always get returned to the right spot. That was his hope: that the tool would get returned.


A couple of years ago, as a priest, I didn’t have any tools. So I said to my dad, “I need a general toolbox. Can you get me one for my birthday?” He got me a toolbox for my birthday. I was really excited because it was a Craftsman toolbox. And wouldn’t you know it, he wrote in yellow letters on it “Mike Denk.” I’m his son, so he made sure to write this in yellow, and he even wrote, very nicely, “bottom” and “top” so I would know how to open my toolbox. So now, if I ever lend it out, anyone will know whose toolbox it is. And they are going to return it to me, right? So I have no fear about lending my tools out. If you ever need a general toolbox, I have one for you. I have you covered.

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The idea is that something will always be returned if it has the owner’s name written on
it. We hear in that first reading, “I will place my law within them. I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” God has written his word on your hearts. You belong to him. You are his. No matter whatever happens in your life, no matter how far you stray, no matter what anyone does to you, you belong to him.

His word is written on your hearts, and you will always be returned to him.

“I will be their God, and they shall be my people. I will place my law within them and write it on their hearts.”

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