Sympathy is a Things Fall Apart vocab word, and empathy appeared in The Namesake on last semester's flocabulary list. I know that you are wondering the root words since the words are so similar. Here goes:
path = feeling
sym = together
en = in (switched to em because spelling developed after people had been pronouncing the words)
sympathy = together feeling or "an expression of pity for another"
empathy = in feeling or "feeling another's pain as one's own"