The readings today are against elitism. The first reading says of God, “You love all things that are, and loathe nothing you have made.”
For Our Lord’s fellow Jews the tax collectors were social outcasts, so In the Gospel the more upstanding citizens of Jericho complained about Jesus going to dine with Zacchaeus. “They said, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” Jesus stood up for Zacchaeus, saying, “This man is a descendant of Abraham.”
The most precious thing for each of us is his or her dignity, and disregarding anyone’s dignity is a grievous offence. That’s what colonialism did to whole nations of God’s children.
The British were overly guilty of that. In 1776 James Watts invented the steam engine, and within a decade the English were manufacturing ten times more cloth than they had when doing it all by hand. To keep up with that productivity, they needed ten times the amount of cotton and ten times the number of consumers. They acquired the raw materials and the consumers not by negotiations, but by subjugation.
Not only did the English believe themselves to be superior, but by robbing indigenous peoples of their dignity, they had them thinking of themselves as inferior.
Not only the English, but the Indian population as well thought Kipling was being courteous towards their Gunga Din when he wrote, “For all his dirty hide, he was white, clear white inside, when he went to tend the wounded under fire.” Today, justice is satisfied by the top seats at England’s elite schools going to people with beautiful dark skins.
Father Gustavo Gutierrez, the author of Liberation Theology, wrote that the major deprivation the elite of South and Central American are inflicting on the peasantry is that they are depriving them of their dignity.