Casting a Wider Net – Your Catholic Weekly Reflection from CMMB
“Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Today’s gospel marks a turning point in the relationship between Jesus and Simon Peter. Jesus identifies a special gift in Simon Peter and gives him a new job. He will no longer catch fish; instead he will catch people. He was chosen to bring others to Jesus.
Like Peter Simon, our longest serving volunteer, Dr. Tom Catena has become a ‘fisher of men’, reminding us all through his actions and words of Christ’s calling for all of us.
“Christ said, go and take care of the least of my brothers and sisters and that’s what I see myself and other missionaries doing every day. I can’t find a more satisfying job than what I’m doing.” – Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom has spent nearly two decades responding to this call, caring for the most vulnerable and accompanying them in their suffering. Since 2008, he has lived side by side with the people of the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, never abandoning them, even when war threatened his own life.
“My decision to stay here was a simple one. As the only doctor at the only major hospital in the Nuba Mountains, I could not leave in good conscience. The way I saw it was that if I left, that tells the people here that my life is more valuable than theirs. And I don’t believe that. That’s not how Christ was, he gave his life for everyone.”
Dr. Tom remains the medical director of Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan, but is currently serving as the chair of the Aurora Humanitarian initiative. The initiative aims to “raise public consciousness about atrocities occurring around the world and reward those working to address these major issues in a real and substantial manner.”
Dr. Tom is the voice of this initiative, traveling the world to promote its message while also bringing attention to the needs of the people in the Nuba mountains.
His words remind us that with all the suffering around us, all the pain, all the seemingly insurmountable challenges, we can make a difference—we can be part of the solution.
“So, whoever you are, and whatever level you’re at, you have a lot to offer. Don’t look at somebody else and say, “That guy really knows a lot of stuff and I can’t do what he does.” That’s not the case. Just try it. Make the effort.”—Dr. Tom
Let us pray to God that he helps us find the strength within to respond to Christ’s call to serve those most in need, today and every day.
In grace and peace,
CMMB/Healthier Lives Worldwide
Today’s reflection was inspired by Loyola Press.