• Bronchitis The Pope is discharged from the hospital and returns to the Vatican: "I was not afraid"

Pope Francis was this morning with the 30,000 faithful who came to St. Peter's Square. He got there in his usual car, and then, leaning on a cane, he reached the chair near the altar of the basilica from where he listened to the story of the Passion according to Matthew that is usually read during Palm Sunday.

Thus, he has resumed his activity a day after leaving the Gemelli hospital, where he has been hospitalized for three days. Francis presided over the Mass sitting in front of the altar while Cardinal Leonardo Sandri celebrated it. Francis' homily focused on the extreme pain of abandonment. "There are entire villages exploited and abandoned to their fate; there are poor people who live on our streets and whose eyes we meet; immigrants who are no longer faces, but numbers; rejected prisoners; people we qualify as problems," he said, and then recalled that there are also many "invisible Christians" for whom he asks for prayer.

Pope Francis prays in the Roman basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore after being discharged. VATICAN

"There are so many invisible Christians: the unborn children, the abandoned elderly, the sick who do not receive visitors, the people with disabilities ignored, the young people who feel a great emptiness inside them without anyone hearing their cry of pain and who find no other way than the dirty one," he added. The Pope read the text of the homily with a somewhat weary voice: "I also need Jesus to caress me, to come to me, and that is why I am going to see him in abandoned people, in those who are alone. He wants us to take care of the brothers and sisters who most resemble him, it will be like taking care of him in the extreme act of pain and loneliness."

"Jesus is understanding to the extreme"

Because, as Pope Francis recalled, the sufferings of Jesus "were many and every time we hear the story of the Passion they enter us," he said, and then reflect on why Jesus went to such an extreme of suffering. "The answer is only one: for us. He was in solidarity with us to the extreme, to be with us until the end. So that no one could feel alone. He experienced abandonment so as not to leave us hostage to desolation and to be by our side forever."

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