Stop Making My Father’s House a Marketplace

Throughout Lent, we’re sharing excerpts from Lenten Grace, an inspiring journey through the season’s Gospel readings. Check back every Sunday through Easter for a new reading. Also, you can get this entire 6 volume series of daily Gospel reflections at a 20% off. Get it now.

Already own Lenten Grace? Open today’s reading in Verbum.


John 2:13–25


“[S]top making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

It is easy when we read Scripture to comment upon how Jesus interacted with others. Look at those people Jesus drove out of the Temple! Imagine challenging Jesus like that!

The treasure of Scripture, however, is that it is really about us, about how Jesus interacts with you and me. Jesus comes into our practice of religion and overturns what we think had been good. I arrive at church on time. I drop my kids off at CCD. I volunteer to count the money three times a year. I cantor at the 12:15 Mass. I’ve entered a religious community of women and spend my life taking care of the elderly.… We too can settle into routine, just as the people selling animals for sacrifice in the Temple had settled into a routine expression of their religion.

Routine is not all that bad. At first it remains connected to the deeper meaning and motivation that prompts a way of living or believing. But what is simply routine over time can become disconnected with the deeper values that permeate it and slip into a rut, gradually degenerating over time into a mindless, heartless activity we no longer know why we are carrying out. Completing the activities of religious practice can then hide a heart that does not belong entirely to God.

Zeal for his Father’s house led Jesus to shake up the system, in a sense to force a personal answer to the questions: Why are you here? What are you doing? What do you expect of God? What have you given to God? What is your whole life all about? Jesus’ words refer to a prophetic verse in Jeremiah: Do not come to the Temple and say, “the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord,” as though that would cover over other areas of your life where you cheat and lie.… You’re making the Temple a den of thieves (cf. Jer 7:1–11).

Ask Jesus to come in and overturn those parts of your life where you have slipped into a rut; ask him to fill you with a zealous fire that burns with love of God.


If I had been there that day when you, Jesus, came in and overturned all of our tables, doing what we thought was a good thing, I would have been angry and confused. If you come into my life today and force me to look at issues that I have safely swept under the carpet, I will be angry and confused. But I need you to do that, Jesus. So come gently but firmly, and show me where you would like me to change and grow into a deeper relationship with you.


Help me out of the rut I’m in.


Download Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections to guide you throughout this lenten season. You can get this entire 6 volume series of daily Gospel reflections at a 20% off. Get it now.

Written by

Verbum, part of the Logos family, empowers Catholics to study Scripture and explore Church tradition.

View all articles
Written by Verbum