In the ancient form of the Holy Week rites (i.e., prior to the Holy Week reforms of Pius XII in the early 1950’s) there is a very brief yet beautiful ceremony that occurs on Palm Sunday when the procession goes outside the church, the doors to the church are closed. The door of the church is then knocked on three times with the shaft of the processional cross. Having served the Mass, I can say it is a powerful and moving rite of which Benedict XVI spoke:
“In the old liturgy for Palm Sunday, the priest, arriving in front of the church, would knock loudly with the shaft of the processional cross on the door that was still closed; thereupon, it would be opened. This was a beautiful image of the mystery of Jesus Christ himself who, with the wood of his Cross, with the power of his love that is given, knocked from the side of the world at God’s door; on the side of a world that was not able to find access to God. With his Cross, Jesus opened God’s door, the door between God and men. Now it is open.”
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI
Palm Sunday, 2007
Blessed Holy Week — a week of great and divine drama!