If we are to contemplate Christ, we must know him. The Pope writes (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 16) that all Christians will have been helped to know Christ better by the celebrations of the Great Jubilee. During the Jubilee it was as if the Christian world stopped, took stock, took heart, and now begins again, full of enthusiasm and with greater understanding of its Lord.
'Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,' wrote Saint Jerome. Jerome is reflecting here not on the Gospels, but on the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. Even in the Old Testament, before the Gospels were written, Christ is revealed. The revelation reaches its fullness, of course, in the Gospels - 'a vision of faith based on precise historical testimony' (Novo Millennio, 17). If we are to contemplate Jesus, we should familiarise ourselves with the one source of divine revelation: Scripture and the Tradition in which and by which it is interpreted.
Reading the Gospels is not like reading a modern biography. The story of Jesus is not so much 'this is your life' as 'this is our lives'. For in this greatest of all stories we read of the events that changed the whole face of human history forever. The Gospel writers inspired by the Holy Spirit place before us truths that can be 'humanly perplexing', but which truthfully chart the events of our salvation (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 18).
'Only the faith proclaimed by Peter, and with him by the Church in every age, truly goes to the heart, and touches the depth of the mystery: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" ' (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 19). With this great Credo Saint Peter responds to the gift of faith the Father has offered him.