Marian prayer of the Angelus March 4, 2024 Photo: Vatican Media

More house and less market: the Pope’s explanation of the Gospel passage on the expulsion of sellers from the temple

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, March 3, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 03.03.2024).- About 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to join Pope Francis in praying the Angelus at noon on Sunday, March 3rd. Below is the text of the catechesis translated into English. As usual, the discourse revolved around the Gospel of the Sunday (John 2:13-25).


Today the Gospel shows us a harsh scene: Jesus drives the merchants out of the temple (cf. Jn 2:13-25), Jesus who expels the sellers, overturns the money changers’ tables, and admonishes everyone, saying, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace” (v. 16). Let us focus a little on the contrast between house and market: indeed, these are two different ways of approaching the Lord.

In the temple conceived as a market, in order to be right with God, all one had to do was to buy a lamb, to pay for it, and to consume it on the altar coals. One bought, paid, consumed, and then everyone went home. In the temple understood as a house, on the other hand, the opposite happens: we go there to encounter the Lord, to be close to Him, to be close to our brothers and sisters, to share joys and sorrows. Moreover: in a market, all prices are negotiated, whereas at home, there is no calculating; in the market, one seeks one’s own interests, at home, one gives freely. And Jesus is harsh today because He does not accept that the market-temple replaces the house-temple, He does not accept that our relationship with God is distant and commercial instead of intimate and trusting, He does not accept that selling stalls take the place of the family table, that prices take the place of hugs, and coins replace caresses. And why does Jesus not accept this? Because in this way, a barrier is created between God and man and between brother and brother, whereas Christ came to bring communion, to bring mercy, that is, forgiveness, and to bring closeness.

The invitation today, also for our Lenten journey, is to build a greater sense of home and less of a sense of the market in ourselves and around us. First of all, towards God, by praying a lot, like children who knock confidently at the Father’s door without getting tired, and not like greedy and distrustful merchants. So, firstly, by praying. And then by spreading fraternity: there is great need for fraternity!

So, let us ask ourselves: first of all, what is my prayer like? Is it a price to be paid, or is it a moment of trusting abandonment, without looking at the clock? And how are my relationships with others? Am I capable of giving without expecting anything in return? Can I take the first step to break down the walls of silence and the voids of distance? We must ask ourselves these questions.

May Mary help us to “build a home” with God, among us, and around us.

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