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Jesus returned to earth by walking down the middle of the road, without anyone noticing what had happened. Just another man among the hurrying passers-by, with the only difference being that his face didn’t look anxious or morose. On the contrary, he was smiling. He was smiling like someone without a worry, without a cross to bear.

Looking at him, tall, slim, long hair, dressed like a bargain hunter from Zara sales, if having to guess his age, people might have estimated at somewhere between thirty and thirty-three years old. Some evildoers would have said that he was someone who has been under the knife to look younger and had blood transfusions to feel rejuvenated. Others still, would be categorical in their belief that he was a foreigner, from who knows where.

When he saw a church, Jesus decided to enter. He was looking at the cross when the Father came in. ​The priest looked at him and immediately disliked his face. There were so many thieves these days, the priest thought it would be better to give this fellow some moral lessons before he started to steal from the collection bag.

“Young man do you know anything about religion?” The Father asks.

‘’Well, a little,” Jesus said.

‘’Oh really? Let me teach you about Jesus.’’

“Yes Father.’’

‘’Jesus preached love among men, cured the sick, and raised the dead. Then, he allowed himself to die on the cross to give us eternal life. Do you understand now, you ignoramus? Have you ever cared about others, helped someone, done something of value in your life? You’re lucky I don’t know your father. Come, kneel down and repent.”

Jesus kneeled down as he had been ordered.

“So young man, confess your sins and don’t try to fool me…”

“Please excuse me, Father, but I can’t think of any fault worthy of repentance,” Jesus said.

“Come on, you little devil, confess that at least you have committed the solitary sin.”

“I give you my word that I never…”

“Ah, you believe yourself to be better than everybody else, a saint perhaps.”

Jesus made an effort not to get up and leave; he tried to convince himself that he had endured greater trials.

The Father said, “you should know that because Eve tempted Adam into eating the forbidden fruit, all their descendants have been marked by the original sin ever since…”

“But this story is just a moral parable, created at a time when the unity and survival of a people depended on obeying the commandments,” Jesus argued.

“Do you dare contradict the Bible?”

“Take the example of Lot and his daughters…”

“That story has no place here!” he roared.

Jesus continued. “Don’t you think that the most important principles of any religion are contained in the call to love among men? That to love thy neighbour is the greatest demonstration of faith? Human brotherhood is the only truth that has not changed over time, and is as valid in the past as it is in the future.’’

The Father looked at him, puzzled. He looked at Jesus the way he would look at an imbecile who had just demonstrated exceptional judgement. But he quickly found the explanation for talk so inappropriate for a rogue: it was the drugs making him say things he didn’t understand. “You think you’re a great philosopher, able to correct religions, and solve the world’s problems?”

“Believe me, I learned long ago that there’s little you can do to change human nature. You pay very dearly for trying. However, as long as a single good man exists on this earth, there will still be hope,” Jesus replied.

The Father realized now that another evil effect of taking drugs was that it turned people into lunatics. There was no point wasting any more time with this wretch, he had gone mad. So he washed his hands of his fate.

“Fine, I absolve you of all thy sins, my son. Eat well, live a good life, and as for pills and needles, stick to the drugstore. Follow the example of Jesus, go in peace, and may God be with you.”

João Cerqueira has a Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of Porto. He is the author of seven books, including Blame It On Too Much Freedom, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro, Devil’s Observations, and Maria Pia: Queen and Woman. The Tragedy of Fidel Castro won the USA Best Book Awards 2013, the Beverly Hills Book Awards 2014, the Global Ebook Awards 2014 and was considered by ForewordReviews as the third best translation published in 2012 in the United States.
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