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Daily Devotional for September 15


September 15                                                 Matthew 3:1-12

      "Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees;
     every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit
              is cut down and thrown into the fire."


John the Baptist must have made people uncomfortable. He
said and did things no one else would have dared; he made
the Pharisees squirm on many occasions; he challenged people
to change.

John the Baptist confronts us with the waste in our own lives,
too. All of us have "trees" in our lives that don't produce good
fruit. Our trees take many forms: harmful relationships, abusive
behavior, addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, or work. Our trees
can be lives overburdened with anger and self-hatred. Our trees
can be so choked with memories of the past that they can't
produce good fruit in the present. Often these trees have been
our means of survival for years. They've become so deeply
rooted in our lives that we don't see how we or anyone else
could uproot them.

Today's Gospel invites us to take the ax to the roots of these
old and unproductive trees in our lives. It can be scary and
it is never easy, but it is the only way to stimulate new growth.
Be patient with yourself when it seems as though you will
never clear your way out of the underbrush. After all, some
of those trees have been there for a long time. The important
thing is to learn to respect yourself as a child of God, to keep
cutting, and to throw the dead wood into the fire of God's
consuming love.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989

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