Day 25: Marvin Gaye and Psalm 51

BY LAUREN MORTON | March 9th, 2024
Today’s readings

As I sat down to write this reflection on today’s readings, Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic album “What’s Going On?” found its way to my playlist. I prayerfully listened with my ears attuned to what God was inviting me to hear. The entire album turns towards today’s responsorial psalm.

 Marvin Gaye has now entered the chat.

On January 1st each year, many of us come out the gate at full speed, committing to a renewed self. More often than not, we believe this can only be accomplished by sacrificing something.  Numerous studies have shown that between mid-February and early March most people have given up on their resolutions. Then comes the Lenten season.  

Once again, we come out full speed sacrificing something for the next forty days to draw us closer to God. In the past, one of my sacrifices was committing to an hour of deep prayer every day or a spiritual reading when I awoke each morning. Life happens and I’d skip a day.  One day became two days, and then a week. I stopped because I “failed”, believing that God is disappointed in me because I could not find time to show my commitment. 

Today’s responsorial psalm reminds us that God is not pleased with our sacrifices. It reminds us to be gentle with ourselves each day; to grow and prepare our hearts so that we may extend mercy to our fellow brothers and sisters.

At the beginning of the album Gaye laments through songs about war, what we are doing to our most vulnerable, and to our planet. Gaye’s song “God Is Love” is a reminder of God’s unending love and mercy towards us despite our repeated stumbles.  Perhaps this Lenten season we can focus our hearts and minds on seeing God as our friend, “for when we call on Him for mercy, He’ll be merciful, my friend.”

5 replies
  1. Susan Hulbert
    Susan Hulbert says:

    Thanks Lauren, I dont think I have ever heard this Marvin Gaye song “God is LOve.” What a wonderful selection!

  2. Suzy R Eyler
    Suzy R Eyler says:

    Lauren, thank you for posting your reflection and including Marvin Gaye’s song, “God is Love”. I don’t think I ever heard it before! When I saw the title of your reflection, I was thinking you might reference “Mercy, Mercy Me.” Thank you so much! Your words are very encouraging as we continue on our Lenten journey!
    Peace and blessings,
    Suzy Eyler

  3. Mary O'Brien
    Mary O'Brien says:

    This is a beautiful reflection. I have always loved Marvin Gaye’s music; perhaps because we shared the same birthday, April 2. He was a little older than I. Last year we had monthly ZOOM conversations on Racial Healing in our diocese. When it was my turn to lead the opening prayer I chose “What’s Goin On.”

  4. sonja
    sonja says:

    it’s not how many times we stumble that matters. What counts is do we have the humility to turn back to God, who always welcomes us with Love.


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