Our first reading is from the words of Ezekiel who spoke to the captives serving in the Babylonian captivity. The people were feeling ashamed over their inability to keep all the rituals of their religion; and Ezekiel speaks to them of a simpler form of religion more pleasing to God.
Those exiles, while they were still in Jerusalem, had often heard their leaders speak of how God rewards many generations of just men, while he punishes many generations of evil doers. Their Jewish leaders used a simple saying to back up their contention that the children and grandchildren of evil men share in their punishment. Their saying was:
The fathers have eaten sour grapes and their children's teeth are set on edge."
In today's reading Ezekiel tells us that God rewards a person's goodness, and he punishes only the evil of a man's own actions.