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December 15, 2014

Matthew, Chapter 21, verse 26:
26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.”

The chief priests and the elders of the people were master politicians during Christ’s time.  Some of them were faithful in thought word and deed, but many were as Christ pointed out like marble sepulchers which are pretty on the outside but inside full of death and rottenness.  Many of them put on the airs of piety but in reality were agnostic in nature. 

Here we see the priest and elders were afraid of the people.  I think in our time a similar thing occurred with Saint John Paul II’s struggle with communism in Poland.  John Paul was a John the Baptist of his time.  The Poles, I assume like the Jews during  the Baptists time, were hungry for a chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the rule of the communist’s.

I believe John the Baptist's message to have been very similar to John Paul’s.  John Paul told the Poles to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to be fearless, and that God is the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct. 'Be not afraid,' he said. Millions shouted in response, 'We want God! We want God! We want God!' The regime cowered. Had the Pope chosen to turn his soft power into the hard variety, the regime might have been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another. The Communists managed to hold on as despots a decade longer. But as political leaders, they were finished. Visiting his native Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II struck what turned out to be a mortal blow to its Communist regime, to the Soviet Empire, [and] ultimately to Communism.[1]

[1] Angelo M. Codevilla, "Political Warfare: A Set of Means for Achieving Political Ends", in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008.)