By Paulo Coelho
Father José Roberto from the Church of the Resurrection in Rio de Janeiro, was setting off early one morning when his car was stopped by three adolescents.
‘We’ve been up all night, Father,’ said one of them defiantly. ‘Guess where we’ve been.’
Like any other normal human being, José Roberto chose to say nothing. He could imagine what being up all night at their age was likely to involve and he shuddered at the risks the boys must have taken and thought how worried their parents would be.
The boy who had initiated the conversation finally answered his own question.
‘We were at the Church of Our Lady in Copacabana, praying to the Virgin. We left there on such a high that we walked all the way here [about 3 kilometres], singing, laughing and talking to everyone we met. At least one person said to us: “Aren’t you ashamed, boys of your age being drunk at this hour in the morning?”.’
Father José Roberto started his car and set off for his appointment. On the way, he said to himself over and over: ‘I let myself be taken in by appearances and I committed an injustice in my heart. When will we ever fully understand Jesus’ words: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured unto you”.’
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