Then after this he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?" ...... So then Jesus said to them clearly, "Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him." So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go to die with him."Oh my gosh...can't you just see, in your mind, Thomas turning to the other disciples, sotto voce, saying: "Let's also go to die with Lazarus." Snark alert! Add this to the fact that later he'd be telling the other disciples, "Yeah, right, Jesus is risen from the dead. I wanna stick my fingers in his wounds before I believe." Umm, Thomas, you may wanna re-think that statement. LOL.
But back to the Gospel, Jesus says: "I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe." And what will they be believing once they go back? Belief in Jesus, as God, in Him as the resurrection and the life of the world. As the Magnificat says: for then the event will teach us just how far we must go in trusting the power of Jesus' love for us. Although Thomas still doesn't get it, which seems like a recurring theme for the apostles, them being thick-headed and all. (Perhaps Thomas was too busy making snarky comments to get the lesson? Ouch, that smarts a little.) Maybe the reason Jesus constantly refers to us as sheep and He our shepherd was because of the up-close witness to stubborn thickheadedness of the apostles.
In reading the biography of St. Thomas over at Patron Saints Index (which I linked to above), I found this homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great (this is just a snippet):
The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection. Touching Christ, he cried out: “‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus said to him: ‘Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed.’” Paul said: “Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what cannot be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: “You have believed because you have seen me?” Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: “My Lord and my God.” Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see. What follows is reason for great joy: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”At any rate, I think I've found a new patron saint for myself.
Lord, may I believe in You, despite my disbelief and despite my unwillingness to listen to You and watch the miracles You are performing in my life.
St. Thomas, patron saint of snarkers like me, pray for us.