Palm Sunday — The Annunciation
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” — Luke 1:31–33
Today, three readings converge: the Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38), Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–9), and Jesus’ Passion (Matthew 26:1–27:66). These make us think back to the Second Petition, “Thy kingdom come.” The Father’s kingdom, or reign, came to us when Jesus became flesh, when He came to Jerusalem, and to the cross.
The final two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer are inherent in the reign of Christ. Jesus came to put sins away. And yet He’s not just a king on the defense, who problem solves after the fact. Jesus is proactive, and if He loves forgiving sins, He also loves preventing sins. He taught His Church to pray, “And lead us not into temptation.”
Inherent in Christ’s reign is also the defeat of a rival kingdom: the devil’s. As the sons of Israel slaved under Pharaoh, so also we slaved in the devil’s realm. But no more! Through Jesus, the Father “has delivered us from the authority of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14). The Father delivers us from the Evil One. We live in the world, whose prince is the devil, and thus Jesus taught his Church to pray continually, “But deliver us from evil.”
The Father answers these petitions now. At the last, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace … Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:41–43).
Father, You have delivered us from the devil’s authority and have brought us into the kingdom of Your Son. Within your kingdom, prevent us from sinning against You, and continually rescue us from the Evil One. Amen.