Earlier today I posted my homily for this 3rd Sunday in Advent. I noted that I like words, especially know their etymology, that is, their origin and development. I gave two examples (“peruse” and “egregious”) of words that have an original meaning, but human uses and circumstances change how we perceive and use the words. I went on to describe the word “joy” in that same context; how smush “joy,” “happiness,” and other synonyms into a generic sameness. But how Christians are to understand and live joy is different that “happiness.” How different? I will leave it to you to read the earlier post.
I like words and their origin (etymology if you prefer). I find it interesting how we change the meaning of words. Take the word “peruse” for example; people understand it to mean “glance over, skim,” etc. Yet originally the word meant to read completely and in exacting detail. Here’s another word whose meaning has done an about face: egregious. Today it means to be conspicuous or flagrant – and almost always in a negative sense. Yet the origin of the word from the Latin ex– “out of” and greg– “flock” to give us egregious or “illustrious.” Today we would say “outstanding.”