Fr Raymond Maunde, O.Carm. 1937 – 2020

Homily given at the Funeral Mass on Thursday, June 4, 2020, by C. Masarira, O.Carm.

Rev. Dr Raymond Zaranyika Maunde, O.Carm., was born on January 3, 1937. He made his first profession on October 3, 1966, and was ordained priest on December 8, 1971. He died on June 1, 2020. As a priest, Raymond worked in St Theresa Chiduku, St Joseph Mission Sakubva, St Barbara’s Mission, St Patrick’s Mission Nyanyadzi, St Killian’s Mission and St Joseph Hatfield Parish. About eight years ago I was surprised when Raymond asked me to preach at his funeral. I asked him: ‘Do you feel that you are about to kick the bucket?’ He just laughed and said, ‘You have heard my request Consta’. To those who knew Ray, he was someone who sometimes avoided answering questions. I also said to him that ‘If I die before you, may you also be the preacher man at my funeral Mass’. He agreed and both of us laughed about it.
Fr Ray was a cheerful person who had a great passion for education. He encouraged many people to value education in their lives. Although Ray was the holder of a PhD degree in education, he was really down to earth and very humble. When the church in St Patrick’s Epworth was being built, besides his pastoral duties, which were demanding, Ray did manual work: he would spend some of his time doing landscaping, planting trees and watering them. In St Joseph’s Mutare and St Joseph’s Hatfield, Harare, a lot of trees in these places were planted by him. Ray really enjoyed manual work.
Fr Ray was sick for a long time and he faced his sickness with great courage. He never complained or cursed the Lord about it. Whenever Ray was asked how he was feeling, he was responded in a positive manner. He would say ‘I am feeling much better’, though we could see that his health was deteriorating. Fr Ray carried his cross with love. Raymond reminds me of the famous book by Scott Peck (The Road Less Travelled). The book begins by stating the fact that ‘life is difficult’. Christian life is also difficult. I see many people I thought were really established in the faith leaving the Church, even those who were priests or religious. My dear friends, you cannot run away or hide from the Cross. You may get a different cross, yet it is still a cross. Grasp it as Ray did, and a great freedom is yours. So many of us, while acknowledging this truth, consume tons of energy fighting this reality in our lives.
Jim Reeves, back in the 1960s, released a version of that great song The Old rugged Cross:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I will cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
O that rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ‘t was on that cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that rugged cross I will ever be true ,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then he will call me some day to my home far away,
Where his glory for ever I will share.
From the very beginning, the Christian faith was distinguished from the religions which surrounded it by its worship of the crucified God. The recollection of the crucified God must oblige every priest and every Christian to distinguish himself or herself from the contemporary society which is a religion of success, money and fortune.
The Cross is a symbol and every symbol points beyond itself and it is very important to understand this fact. The symbol of the Cross in the Church points to the God who was crucified between two thieves in a place called Golgotha, where outcasts belonged outside the gates of the city. The Cross is a symbol which leads us out of the church into the fellowship of the oppressed and abandoned. It is, on the other hand, a symbol which calls the godless and the oppressed into the church and through the church into fellowship with the crucified God. If this is forgotten, the Cross ceases to be a symbol, and becomes an idol. Raymond carried his cross with love and his cross will take him to heaven. We can also learn a lot from Fr Ray’s illness in which he persevered very much in his illness; I never heard Ray saying God had abandoned him, he was brave in carrying his cross to the end. Raymond was deeply spiritual and honestly a man of prayer. His strength and courage flowed from his encounter with the Lord in prayer. From his encounter he drew inspiration to endure his illness.
Ray was loved by many people because of his big heart. Even after a misunderstanding, he would not hold a grudge against anyone. He was a man of character and principles. Raymond would not ask anyone to do what he would not do, like St Paul he would say: ‘I urge you, be imitators of me’ (1Corinthians 4:16).
Raymond contributed immensely in the area of higher education. At Chitakatira Secondary School, where he taught for some years, more than ten of his students are now doctors in different disciplines. Yet with such achievements Raymond remained humble and really down to earth. He was very human, very sensitive to the needs of others, and he had a great respect for people. He is also remembered for his encouragement of people to work hard whether in schooling or manual work. Ray would not stand living with a lazy person (Genesis 2:15).
In the gospel of St John (15:9-17), we are encouraged to love each other (Dananai pakati penyu). Does God see among us love, our concern for the other? (Mwari vanoona kudanana pakati pedu here?) These were some of the issues Ray used to say when he was still with us. I feel strongly that we have to be serious about it (Pakudanana apa tiripapiko). Of all the biblical writers, St John is regarded as the writer who lays the greatest emphasis on the love of God more than any other. John is convinced of one thing and one thing only: that God is love. When we live in love we live in God. His gospel and his letters point to that one thing: love. A story is told that when John was dying, surrounded by his disciples, he kept on repeating the words, ‘Friends let us love one another’. After days of repeating this phrase one disciple asked his dying master, ‘Master, you keep on saying “let us love one another, let us love one another, let us love one another”, are we not loving each other enough?’ With his last breath the master, shedding tears said, ‘Brothers, let us love one another for when we have done this we have done all’. Jesus’ last wish for his Apostles was for them to love one another. Do we take this last wish of Jesus seriously? In our Carmelite Family, do we love each other? (Mumhuri yedu sema Carmelites tiri kudanana here, tiripapi pakudanana apa?) Do we really have concern for the other? Do we forgive each other or do we hold grudges against the other (Tinoregererana here or tinosunungirirana). Fr Raymond wanted us to be truthful to each other (angaasingadi nhema) – it is the truth which sets us free, my dear brothers and sisters. Ray called a spade a spade. He spoke his mind openly to anyone without any fear.
‘Let us love not only in words and speech but in truth and action’ (1John 3:18). In the crucifixion, love remains: ‘We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for one another’ (1John 3:16).
Fambai zvakanaka baba Ray Zaranyika. Tichaonana kana Mwari achida. Zororai zvenyu murugare!
May our Lady of Mount Carmel intercede for you brother (mukoma) Ray.
Fambai Zvakanaka.