The Ministry of Jesus Christ – Expulsion of the Traders from the Temple

detail of a stained glass window depicting Jesus chasing vendors from the Temple; date and artist unknown; church of Saint-Aignan, Chartres, France; photographed on 22 January 2011 by Reinhardhauke; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” – John 2:13-17

Jesus, finding in the Temple sellers of oxen, sheep and doves, and money-changers trading, drives them out with a scourge of small cords, saying to them: “Make not the house of My Father a house of traffic.”

The anger of the Son of God is roused by the indignity done to His Father’s house by those who traded therein. God is always jealous of any encroachment of worldly things on what is consecrated to Him. Woe to those who turn to secular purposes things sacred! How careful we should be to perform all that we have promised to God, and to pay Him all that we have offered to Him. Have I ever failed in this respect, or robbed God of what is His due or what I have devoted to be His?

There is one respect in which all have failed in giving to God His due. In our prayers, at Holy Mass, in time of meditation, we profess to give our thoughts to God. He, therefore, has a claim on an exclusive possession of them. Yet how often have I deliberately allowed worldly interests, pleasures, amusements, cares, to occupy His place, and to run riot in my heart even before the altar, so that I have made the house of God a den of thieves!

It seems strange that these traders should not have resisted Him Who drove them out. They knew He was right and they were wrong. Nothing is so cowardly as a guilty conscience. A man who knows that he is condemned by the law of God cannot withstand the rebuke of his fellow-men – how much less the Divine anger of the Son of God!

MLA Citation

  • Father Richard Frederick Clarke, SJ. “Expulsion of the Traders from the Temple”. The Ministry of Jesus Christ: Short Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord, 1892. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 April 2019. Web. 29 July 2021. <>