Herod told the Magi he wanted to worship the infant Christ—but really he wanted to kill a potential rival. We do the same, says St. John Chrysostom, if we approach the Eucharist unworthily.
But be careful not to be like Herod, and say, “that I too may come and worship him,” but when you have come be planning to murder him.
For those who partake of the mysteries unworthily resemble Herod—as it is said, they “will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).
They have in themselves the tyrant who is grieved at Christ’s Kingdom, and who is even more wicked than old Herod: I mean Mammon. For he wants the power, and sends those who belong to him to worship in appearance, but murdering while they worship.
Then let us take care that, while we have the appearance of suppliants and worshipers, we do not in fact show ourselves to be the opposite.
–St. John Chrysostom, Homily 7 on Matthew, 6
What do I need to do—what sins do I need to confess—before I go to Mass the next time?
Sovereign Lord our God, do not condemn me, though I am stained with a multitude of sins. I come to your heavenly mystery, not as one who is worthy, but trusting only in your goodness. God be merciful to me, a sinner.
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