By Reverend Thomas K. Murphy, O.F.M.
Before moving to the next two phrases of the Lord’s Prayer, we must consider the Biblical notion of Covenant expressed by the words, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God (cf. Ez 36:28b, et. al.).
The next phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, Thy Kingdom Come, is our humble acceptance of the statement, I will be your God. We decide that the Lord will have full dominion over us. Although we have long enjoyed a democratic form of civil government, the Lord has always maintained an absolute sovereignty over his creation: I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other (cf. Is 42:8a).
The Book of Psalms contains 23 Royal Psalms, all of which can be broken down into three sub-categories: Hymns of Yahweh’s Kingship, Messianic Psalms, and Canticles of Zion. Ancient history records that all the nations worshipped a multiplicity of their own gods. In the face of this reality, the tiny Hebrew nation was praying six Hymns of Yahweh’s Kingship, each of which claimed that their God was the only God: Declare his glory among the nations . . . for [the LORD] is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols (cf. Ps 96:3,4,5).
In the Divine Office of the Catholic Church before Vatican Council II, these Psalms were prayed as the first psalm of Lauds or Morning Prayer, dedicating the dawn of each day to the Reign of God.
After David captured Jerusalem, he built himself a splendid cedar palace. When he quickly realized at that moment that the Lord dwelled with them in a tent, he regretted his selfishness. This good will toward the Lord won for David the promise of a descendant who would reign forever (cf. 2 Sam 7).
Eleven Messianic Psalms developed about this “Promised Messiah.” Most of these Psalms concern his kingship. Ps 2:6-8 states, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy mountain . . . You are my son . . . I will make the nations your heritage . . .” In these Psalms it is also clear that this king serves the poor, the helpless, the weak, and the needy (cf. Ps 72:12,13). One of these Royal Psalms surprises us with the unexpected message: “You are a priest forever” (cf. Ps 110:4b). Psalms 20 and 21 can be seen as a veiled portrayal of Jesus’ priestly suffering and resurrection. The Church interprets Psalm 45:10,11 as Jesus taking his Church as his bride: Hear, O daughter . . . forget your people . . . and the king will desire your beauty.
The third kind of Royal Psalms is found in six Canticles of Zion, the City of David, Jerusalem. Three of these speak of the just and peaceful city of God among us, Psalms 84, 87, and 122. Three others, Psalms 46, 48, and 76, commemorate the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from a siege by mighty Assyria in 701 BCE (cf. Is 37).
The Church has never hesitated to identify itself as the Jerusalem above (cf. Gal 4:26), the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Heb 12:22), and the new Jerusalem (cf. Rev 21:2) and also appropriates these songs as her own.