16 And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic.
Alcuin: To take the passage mystically, God enters His Church spiritually every day, and marks each one’s behavior there. Let us be careful then, when we are in God’s Church, that we indulge not in stories, or jokes, or hatreds, or lusts, lest on a sudden He come and scourge us, and drive us out of His Church.
Bede: They then are the sellers of doves, who, after receiving the free grace of the Holy Spirit, do not dispense it freely , as they are commanded, but at a price: who confer the laying on of hands, by which the Holy Spirit is received, if not for money, at least for the sake of getting favor with the people, who bestow Holy Orders not according to merit, but favor.
Augustine: By the oxen may be understood the Apostles and Prophets, who have dispensed to us the holy Scriptures. Those who by these very Scriptures deceive the people, from whom they seek honor, sell the oxen; and they sell the sheep too, i.e. the people themselves; and to whom do they sell them, but to the devil?
Bede: The sheep are works of purity and piety, and they sell the sheep, who do works of piety to gain the praise of men. They exchange money in the temple, who, in the Church, openly devote themselves to secular business. And besides those who seek for money, or praise, or honor from Holy Orders, those too make the Lord’s house a house of merchandize, who do not employ the rank, or spiritual grace, which they have received in the Church at the Lord’s hands, with singleness of mind, but with an eye to human recompense.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. IV (London: Rivington, 1845).